Hopes of a Big 12 title slipped through the No. 19 Bears’ fingers Tuesday night at the Ferrell Center. No. 2 Kansas outlasted the Bears, 66-60.
“I was proud of how we competed and played for 36 minutes, but I wish we could redo those last four minutes again,” said head coach Scott Drew. “But I can see a marked improvement from the first time we played them.”
The Bears anticipated a good turnout from Baylor Nation at the Ferrell Center as fans participated in a White-Out.
Play on both sides started off a bit chippy. Both teams struggled to get things going.
Drew’s frustration showed when he was called with a technical foul within the first two minutes of play.
“I didn’t cuss and I wasn’t out of the box,” Drew said. “It had to be that I was being demonstrative.”
Kansas led for most of the first half, but the Bears kept the score close.
It wasn’t until the final seconds of the first half that the Bears were able to gain the lead, 36-33.
With one second remaining on the shot clock, junior guard Ishmail Wainright lobbed a full-court pass to senior forward Rico Gathers. Gathers seperated from his defender and drained the fadeaway three-pointer as time expired.
“That was a tough shot he made,” said Jayhawks junior forward Landen Lucas. “That gave them some momentum going into the half and we don’t like that.”
Early in the second half, a three-pointer by Wainright gave the Bears a 45-37 lead with 14:34 remaining.
Kansas head coach Bill Self promptly called a timeout to get his team regrouped after Wainwright’s three-pointer.
Missed second chance opportunities proved to be costly for Baylor.
The Bears, after leading for most of the second half, eventually fell behind late in the game.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Bears found themselves down one, 48-47.
Although the Bears had a distinct advantage on the boards all game, it was with four minutes remaining that it seemed things flipped.
“They were killing us on the boards,” Lucas said. “Towards the end of the game, I was just trying to get more offensive rebound. I think things switched at one point and we were getting more offensive rebounds.”
Lucas came up with five big offensive rebounds to give his team the edge.
Once again, coming out of a timeout, the Jayhawks regrouped to drain two free throws and make a layup the next time down.
“We were in the game the whole time, but the last four minutes of the game we slipped up,” said senior forward Taurean Prince.
Down three with two minutes remaining, Prince nailed a jump shot to put the Bears back within one.
With 1:35 remaining, the Jayhawks called their last timeout.
Jayhawk junior guard Wayne Selden Jr.’s dunk, followed by a missed jumper by senior guard Lester Medford, put the Bears down, 60-57.
However, another three-pointer by sophomore guard Al Freeman put the Bears back within four, but with 0.8 seconds remaining, the Bears’ hopes of a Big 12 title quickly faded as the Jayhawks came down to nail free throws and take the game, 66-60.
Only two Bears scored in double digits and Baylor 36.1 from the floor overall. The Bears shot 28.6 in the second half as Baylor struggled to make the shots when they mattered most
The Bears will look to bounce back at 7 p.m. Saturday at TCU.