By Shehan Jeyarajah
Junior forward Rico Gathers had a dominant offensive performance with 18 points and eight rebounds, but No. 16 Baylor faltered down the stretch and fell to No. 8 Kansas 74-64 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
The Bears (18-7, 6-6) got out to a hot start and led at the half for the first time in 13 appearances at Allen Fieldhouse. Baylor shot 8-for-14 to open the game and hit four three-pointers to take a 21-8 lead over the Jayhawks. After trading runs, Baylor had a 33-27 lead at the end of the first half.
Kansas came out hot at the beginning of the second half and hit five of their six shots to take its first lead of the afternoon. Senior forward Royce O’Neale and guard Kenny Chery hit three-pointers and junior forward Taurean Prince added a dunk to put the Bears back on top 44-41, but Kansas dominated from that point on. The Jayhawks hit 15 free throws down the stretch, sprinkled in with three-pointers from Kelly Oubre and Brannen Greene to eventually pull away.
Kansas plays an undersized lineup, but Baylor struggled to keep them off the boards down the stretch. The Bears were outrebounded 17-12 in the second half, including 14-7 on defensive rebounds. The Jayhawks’ hot 12-for-22 shooting also played a factor.
Chery shot 5-for-10 from the three-point line, but mustered only 1-for-5 within the arc. Outside of Gathers, the Bears shot only 31.9 percent from the field and 10 total free throws. Perry Ellis and Oubre each scored 18 for Kansas and Wayne Selden Jr. added 15.
Baylor has a quick turnaround and will play at 6 p.m. on Tuesday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN2.