By Greg DeVries
The No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks beat the No. 6 Bears for the second time this season, 68-54.
The leaders for the Bears were junior Pierre Jackson and senior Quincy Acy with 16 and 11 points respectively. Acy also tallied 10 rebounds and recorded his 15th career double-double.
The Bears started the game strong on both ends of the floor. Their full court press forced Kansas to turn the ball over four times in the first five minutes. Kansas had a tough time dealing with Baylor’s double team in the post.
“The first 12 minutes, that was ugly,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “I mean that was some ugly ball.”
On the offensive end, Baylor was winning the battle in the paint. Easy baskets were falling, and Baylor had a 10-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half.
Kansas was eventually able to stretch the floor and get the looks they wanted. A run of its own would tie the game, and the teams would go back and forth until half time, when Kansas went into the locker room with a 33-30 lead.
“The end of the first half was really a turning point,” said head coach Scott Drew. “We should have finished with momentum and we didn’t.”
Thomas Robinson may have been the focus for the Bears defensively, but it was Jeff Withey that kept the points coming for Kansas. He finished the first half with 17 points on 5-6 shooting. He was also 7-8 from the line and was the only player in double figures at half for either team.
“He was huge tonight. I’m happy for him,” Tyshawn Taylor said.
Thomas Robinson only had four points, and Taylor was only 2-6 from the field going into the locker room for the Jayhawks. Jackson and Acy finished the half with eight points each.
The Bears came out slow in the second half, but the Jayhawks came out firing. A 19-4 run gave the Jayhawks a lead the Bears could not overcome for the rest of the game.
“We just let one mistake lead to two, and they got some easy transition buckets,” Acy said.
Sophomore Perry Jones III finished the game with five points and three rebounds on just 1-8 shooting.
“That was obviously a big blow to them and a big help to us,” Self said about Jones III and Miller’s combined eight points.
The Jayhawks held the Bears to a 0-5 performance from the arc and 36 percent shooting in the second half.
Baylor uncharacteristically shot just 57 percent from the free-throw line and 37 percent from the field. Kansas shot over 50 percent from the field and grabbed more rebounds than the Bears.
Bench play partially made up for the hole that Kansas was digging for the Bears. Sophomore Cory Jefferson finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and three blocks in 23 minutes of play. In the end, however, Baylor couldn’t put together a big enough run to counter the way that the Jayhawks opened the second half.
The Jayhawks (19-5, 9-2) lost to rival Missouri in their last game, but they haven’t lost back-to-back games since the 2005-2006 season.
Baylor (21-3, 8-3) will take on the Big 12–leading Tigers at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The last time Baylor played Missouri, the Tigers took the win at the Ferrell Center 89-88.