Kansas hosted Baylor in what may eventually turn out to be a pivotal matchup in the Big 12 race as the Jayhawks got a game lead in the standings via their 73-68 win over Baylor Wednesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas took an early 4-0 lead on a pair of Josh Jackson free throws and a Devonte Graham layup, but Baylor would quickly fight back and not let the Jayhawks blow the roof off Allen Fieldhouse early. The two teams would battle back and forth for most of the first half until Baylor went on 10-2 run late to establish a 28-21 lead. After a Terry Maston dunk with 1:45 until halftime, the Bears were up 8 at 34-26 and the Jayhawks looked to be in trouble. A floater in the lane by Frank Mason with 5 seconds left set the halftime margin at 6, with Baylor leading 34-28.
But Kansas came hot out of the chute in the second half, going on a 14-2 run over the first 3:29 of the half to take a 42-36 lead over the Bears. Baylor would battle it back to a tie at 43-43, and it was game on. Every time Kansas hit a big shot and you thought they might run away with it, Baylor answered. After Kansas opened up a 53-47 lead with 10:17 left, Baylor tied it up at 55-all with 7:31 left. The last tie of the game would be at 64-all, broken by a Jackson dunk with just 2:28 left to play.
A weird slop/flop shot from the top of the key by Manu Lecompte brought Baylor to within 70-68 with 45 seconds left. Lucas would fumble a Jackson pass, and Baylor had the opportunity to tie or take the lead, but Ish Wainwait would miss a three-pointer and Svi would get fouled on the rebound. Svi hit one of two free throws to set up one of the more odd endings you’ve seen.
The Jayhawks played tenacious defense on Baylor’s final possession, flustering the Bears enough that they threw the ball out of bounds with just 1.3 seconds left on the clock. A foul before the inbounds sent Frank Mason to the free throw line, who nailed two foul shots and put the game out of reach as Kansas escaped with a 73-68 victory.
This and That
Josh Jackson was a man amongst boys tonight. He led all scorers with 23 points on 8-13 shooting, including 2-4 from deep, notching yet another double-double with 11 rebounds.
Although, Hack-A-Jack is a viable strategy for opposing teams.
Landen Lucas also brought down 11 rebounds
It seemed like Baylor rebounded a ton of its misses, especially in the first half.
Kansas hit its first 9 free throws, then remembered they were a bad free throw shooting team. KU finished 20-27 (74.1%) at the stripe, which is a good 10% over their team season average.
Jackson was just 5-9 from the line.
Home cooking? KU was called for just 10 fouls vs Baylor’s 21.
The Bears only shot 6 free throws, making 4.
Baylor came in as the worst 3-point shooting team in Big 12 Conference play. They hit 8-22 (36.4%) free throws.
Kansas hit 9-20 (45%) from behind the arc.
Mitch Lightfoot got 5 minutes in this one and it seemed to me like he was active and effective.
Kansas will host Iowa State at 1 PM on Saturday, February 4, inside Allen Fieldhouse.
We’ll have more on the Baylor game over the next day or two, but for now, the comments section is yours.