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Kansas Escapes With Huge Win Over Baylor

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Baylor Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This was one of those games you just couldn't look away from as arguably the two best defenses in the country were guarding each possession like it it was their last.

Things started off poorly for KU as Baylor jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Kansas responded by scoring the next nine. Kansas held a small lead for the majority of the first half, but started to push it out toward double digits with a few minutes to go. Fortunately for Baylor, they were able to put an 8-2 run together and pull to within three by halftime, 34-31.

In the second half, Kansas slowly started building that lead out again. Udoka Azubuike asserted himself as a man amongst boys, despite Baylor's talent and physicality. I honestly lost track of Dok's dunks, several of which came as Baylor was relentlessly hacking him (and no fouls were called). The Jayhawks finally built the lead to ten, but Baylor didn't go away. They attacked the basket and found a few open threes, but each time it was seemingly answered (many times with an Azubuike dunk). At the under-8, it was KU 52, Baylor 44.

Baylor pulled closer from there. A Jared Butler three made it 56-51 at the five minute mark. A pair of missed Azubuike free throws gave Baylor even more energy. They pulled to within three, 56-53 just a minute later and Kansas had absolutely started to unravel on both ends of the court.

Fortunately, Garrett hit a pair of clutch free throws to make the lead five. A put back by Azubuike on the next possession pushed it to seven, 60-53 with 1:55 remaining. A pair of Baylor free throws cut it back back to five, and was followed by a steal. Fortunately, Baylor missed their three and with 41.2 seconds left, and Dotson went to the line. However, he missed the front of a one and one, giving Baylor the ball back, down 60-55, with 40 seconds to go. Baylor then kindly returned the favor by missing a free throw on the other end, and had to foul Dotson again. This time he responded by hitting both, but Baylor responded with a quick (crazy) three. Baylor quickly called timeout with 26.5 seconds left, with KU up 62-58.

Kansas went back to full unravel mode, and Agbaji threw the ball away on the ensuing inbound, which led to another quick three for Baylor. It was 62-61 with 16.2 seconds left. This time they got it in and did a good job playing keep away, with Isaiah Moss heading to the line with 7.9 seconds left. Moss hit both, and Self called a timeout to strategize. Somewhat surprisingly, Kansas elected not to foul up three, but the potential game winner was no good for Baylor, and the Jayhawks escaped with a 64-61 victory in the biggest college basketball game of the season to date.

Udoka Azubuike was undoubtedly the player of the game with 23 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks. Dotson scored a baker's dozen while Garrett did a little of everything, scoring nine with four boards, seven assists and two steals.

The Jayhawks are now tied with Baylor atop the Big 12 standings at 13-1. They'll have a quick turnaround, playing again Monday against Oklahoma State in friendly confines of Allen Fieldhouse.