By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer
Baylor men’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season, 71-58, at the hands of no. 17 Kansas in the formidable Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. on Saturday night.
Jayhawk junior forward David McCormack continued his recent string of dominant performances, scoring 20 points and helping Kansas to the victory and ending Baylor’s 18-game winning streak. Junior guard MaCio Teague led the Bears in scoring, putting up 18 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s tough to see the winning streak end,” Teague said. “At the end of the day, they came up here and outplayed us in certain aspects of the game and we lost.”
Kansas held a significant advantage on the boards, outrebounding Baylor 48 to 28, the most the Bears have been outrebounded by all season. The Jayhawks also played stellar defense, only allowing five points from the entire Baylor bench.
“Obviously, you’re not going to be a great team with that kind of rebounding deficient,” Baylor head coach Scott Drew said. “Kudos to them for that and we’ve got to get better in that area.”
It was a back-and-forth game in the first half, with the lead changing hands six times. McCormack made his impact on the game early, as he scored 14 of his 20 in the first half and shot a perfect 5 -or-5 from the field. The Bears made a living off of Kansas’ mistakes, scoring 13 points off of turnovers in the first half, while only turning the ball over twice themselves.
Baylor led 30-26 with only two minutes remaining in the half but failed to score again, allowing the Jayhawks to go on a mini 7-0 run to close out the half. Kansas led 33-30 at the break.
Jared Butler struggled in the first half, scoring zero points. His struggles would continue for the rest of the game as well, as Kansas star-defender Marcus Garrett only allowed Butler to score five in the second half.
“First you have to give credit to Marcus [Garrett],” Drew said. “Second, our staff has to do a better job of putting him in better positions. And third, you’re going to have nights where you don’t shoot it well. That was tonight.”
The momentum from halftime carried over for Kansas, as they continued to build their advantage, taking a 43-33 lead just five minutes into the second half. Baylor was unable to retake the lead, in part due to a cold shooting performance in the second half. The Bears were uncharacteristically poor from behind the arc, shooting a dismal 18.8% from three.
“We were the number one shooting team in the country and we’ll get back to that,” Drew said. “Even Superman has kryptonite and I guess COVID protocols is ours.”
Baylor was able to close the lead to four points with six minutes remaining in the game, but the Bears were hit with a drought offensively, only scoring two points in the last three minutes.
Baylor’s attention will now turn to its upcoming matchup against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The Bears can clinch the Big 12 regular-season title with a win over the Mountaineers.
“It’s easy to focus after you haven’t been able to do anything for the past three weeks,” Drew said on getting his team ready for Tuesday. “We’ll be excited to play. We love the opportunity to be back on the court.”
The Bears’ matchup against West Virginia will be televised on ESPN.