The Jayhawks laid waste to one of the hottest teams in the country at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon. If you didn’t watch the first half, just consider yourself lucky. Baylor was hitting everything, Kansas was hitting nothing. At one point Baylor led by 17, 40-23. KU was down 13 at halftime, 45-32.
The comeback started immediately in the 2nd half. Kansas came out and scored ten straight to get themselves back in the game. The roles were reversed in the 2nd half, with Baylor struggling to get anything going while Kansas was slashing to the basket and racking up the points. KU never really got it going from three point range, but they were finding other ways to scores. Baylor’s 2 point defense is pretty horrendous, and Bill Self’s Jayhawks were much better at finding ways to exploit that weakness after a difficult 1st half.
With 14:29 remaining, KU finally got the lead back, 50-49. It was a lead they would never relinquish, as Gradey Dick’s three to gain that lead would end up being part of a 17-5 run that put Baylor in a tough spot, trying to make a comeback in Allen Fieldhouse. In the end, they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t even come close. The Jayhawks rolled comfortably down the stretch, putting Baylor away with an 87-71 victory. This was reminiscent of the Elite 8 game last year, in which Miami buried Kansas in the 1st half, only to end up getting run out of the gym from there.
For Kansas, soon-to-be-Big-12-player-of-the-year Jalen Wilson led the team with 21 points, though as always it was a volume effort, as he went 6-16 from the field and 0-5 from three. He also grabbed 13 rebounds and a steal. Gradey Dick fought through a rough shooting performance where he was 2-9 from three and 6-18 overall, continuing his recent trend of finding ways to score inside the three point arc, and scoring 16. Dajuan Harris continued his recent run of being a willing shooter, scoring 14 on 6-8 shooting, while racking up nine assists and two steals. KJ Adams contributed 17, with four boards and three assists. Kansas went just 6-21 (28.6%) from three, which makes the comeback and eventual blowout even more impressive. After getting everything they wanted in the 1st half, shooting 71% from three at halftime, Baylor came back down to earth and ended up hitting 10-25 (40%) for the day.
Oklahoma took Texas to overtime just before this game, but came up short, meaning that Texas will remain tied with KU at the top of the Big 12 standings, with both teams at 10-4. Of course, with the Big 12 being what it is this year, there is no rest for the weary. KU has a quick turnaround with a road game at TCU on Big Monday. TCU dominated Kansas in Lawrence earlier this year, and after getting Mike Miles back from injury, TCU torched Oklahoma State Saturday, scoring 100 in a 25 point win. It’s not necessarily a must-win game for KU’s Big 12 title hopes, but picking up a road win Monday would be huge.