By Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 24 Baylor (13-5, 1-4) fought hard in the first half, but fell to No. 8 Kansas (14-4, 5-0) in a tough 78-68 loss on Monday at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. The Bears have never won a game in Allen Fieldhouse in program history.
Baylor came out of the gate on fire in the first half. The Bears connected on eight out of 10 three-point attempts in the first half, including 4-for-4 shooting from senior guard Brady Heslip in the half. Despite the hot shooting from three, Baylor shot only 22.2 percent from two-point land, largely because of the post defense from Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid.
Kansas shot the ball at a 60 percent clip in the first half, but was unable to pull away from the Bears in the first half. The largest lead of the first half was by four, and Kansas led by only 37-35 at the break. The Bears have never led a half at Allen Fieldhouse.
Baylor stuck around for the first five minutes of the second half, but then Kansas began to pull away with a 17-4 run to push the lead to 60-46 with 8:22 left in the game behind seven points from sophomore forward Perry Ellis.
Baylor fought back, but was unable to get closer than nine points for the last 12 minutes of the game. After the hot shooting in the first half, Baylor shot 35.5 percent in the second half and only 29.4 percent from the three-point line. Baylor shot 45 percent from the free-throw line for the game.
Heslip played his best game of the season, nailing 6-of-9 three-pointers for 19 points. He also grabbed three rebounds. Senior power forward Cory Jefferson added 16 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Kenny Chery had eight assists.
Ellis led the Jayhawks with 18 points and five rebounds on 6-for-8 shooting and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Embiid scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Bears will look to turn around Big 12 conference play at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday against in-state rival Texas.