By Greg DeVries
No. 6 Baylor men’s basketball will take on the Kansas Jayhawks at 6 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center. Kansas is currently tied with Baylor for second place in the Big 12 standings. Both teams are currently half of a game behind Missouri.
Baylor’s last game against Kansas was a 92-74 loss at Allen Fieldhouse. In that game, every Jayhawk starter scored in double figures. Kansas’s Thomas Robinson highlighted the starters with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Tyshawn Taylor added 28 points.
To avoid another crippling defeat, the Bears need to stop Robinson.
“You don’t want to give him angles, so you want to make him earn everything,” head coach Scott Drew said. “You don’t want to give him transition buckets, and then rebounding-wise, you just have to make sure that if he does get it, it’s not from a lack of effort, meaning you’re doing everything you can to block him out.”
Rebounding will be key in the upcoming game. In Baylor’s previous game against Kansas, the Bears were out-rebounded 36-21. In their only other loss, the Missouri Tigers also grabbed more rebounds than the Bears.
“Thomas Robinson is a different kind of dude. He’s super good,” freshman Quincy Miller said. “He’s exactly what you want a power forward to be.”
The Bears now know what they need to do to beat the Jayhawks.
“We can’t shoot that many jump shots this time,” Miller said. “We need to attack the basket.”
Senior Quincy Acy echoed this message.
“They were more aggressive than us. We started settling for jumpers as a team, and that’s not what we do. That’s not what we should do,” Acy said. “We have a lot of different bigs that have different skill sets that we have to take advantage of and stop settling for jumpers. Myself included.”
Baylor maintains that Kansas will see a different team this time around. Last time these teams met, junior Pierre Jackson was coming off the bench. He has since been named the starter, and the chemistry has improved.
“We learned how to play off of each other way better than [we did] before,” Miller said.
Acy said Jackson brought a play style that really boosted the Bears’ offense.
“It took a little while to get used to [Jackson’s speed]. But just playing in practice and open gym and stuff, we got adjusted to it. He plays at a great pace. You like it because it gets the defense on their heels, but at the same time you almost get a wow-factor just watching him,” Acy said.
Jackson will need that speed in the game. He will be in charge of guarding Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor has averaged more than 19 points in the past five games and has only turned the ball over four times in the past three games.
This game will mark the 20th time the Bears have faced the Jayhawks in Big 12 play. Baylor has only beaten Kansas once in Waco.