WACO (AP) – One of the first things Baylor coach Scott Drew talked about after another loss to Kansas was wanting his team to now imitate the Jayhawks.
“Kansas did a tremendous job bouncing back after their tough game with Missouri,” Drew said. “We need to do the exact same thing this Saturday.”
Or the sixth-ranked Bears will have consecutive losses again.
Baylor lost 68-54 on Wednesday night, its second lopsided loss in just more than three weeks against the seventh-ranked Jayhawks, who were coming off a loss at fourth ranked Missouri. That is where the Bears play Saturday.
Jeff Withey scored a career-high 25 points for the Jayhawks (19-5, 9-2 Big 12), who never led until a 14-3 spurt over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half with Thomas Robinson sitting on the bench with two fouls. Kansas then scored 14 points in a row early in the second half, with half of those coming on one possession.
“We’re all embarrassed and disappointed by our play,” Drew said.
The Jayhawks lost 74-71 at Missouri on Saturday, when the 7-foot Withey missed his only shot and was scoreless. They now have a share of the Big 12 lead with the Tigers and haven’t lost consecutive games in more than six years — a span of 228 games since January 2006.
“Of all the things that these teams have accomplished, that may be one of the more impressive ones,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Baylor (21-3, 8-3) was 17-0 with the longest winning streak in school history before a 92-74 loss at Kansas on Jan. 16. The Bears followed that with a one-point home loss to Missouri.
In the Jan. 16 game against Baylor at home, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson had combined for 55 points and both matched career highs for field goals made. Taylor had a career-best 28 points in that game and Robinson had 27.
Taylor finished with 19 points this time, his ninth consecutive game with at least 15. Robinson, the only Big 12 player averaging a double-double, had 15 points with 11 rebounds.
Pierre Jackson led Baylor with 16 points, while Quincy Acy and Cory Jefferson had 11 each.
Baylor worked the already raucous sellout crowd of 10,344 into a frenzy by scoring the first seven points. Self called timeout less than 2 minutes into the game.
The opening play was an alley-oop pass from Jackson to Perry Jones III for a slam dunk. Jackson then penetrated for a short floater, and the Bears were up 7-0 when Jackson had another assist, a bounce pass to Quincy Miller for a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Neither Jones, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, or Miller had another field goal. Miller came out for good after a flagrant foul with 16:38 left.
After making its first three shots, Baylor missed the next five and Kansas got even at 7-all when Withey made two free throws. But the Bears pushed back ahead 19-9 after Jackson’s alley-oop pass to Acy for another rim-rattling dunk that reignited the fans, before Jackson stole the ball from Withey and scored on a baseline floater.
“Up 10 with 9:41 to go, and really the end of the first half was the beginning of the turning point,” Drew said. “We should have finished with momentum going into the locker room. We didn’t. … And then the beginning of the second half, we get a steal to start the second half. And then from there, nothing went right.”
Withey had a turnover to start the second half before Jackson came away from a scrum on the floor with the ball for a Baylor layup.
Kansas then scored 14 points in a row, a stretch started by Withey’s layup before he added a three-point play.
Withey then had consecutive steals that led to jumpers by Robinson, who fouled making the second basket. He converted the three-point play and it became a seven-point possession when Quincy Miller’s foul during the free throw was called flagrant after officials looked at replay.
After Withey made the technical free throw, Tyshawn Taylor’s 3-pointer with 16 1/2 minutes left pushed Kansas to a 47-32 lead.
“That seven-point possession took a lot out of us,” Jackson said. “We just didn’t answer back after that.”
Withey had already matched his previous career high of 15 points on a free throw with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half to get Kansas within 30-25. He then blocked a shot, which led to a 3-pointer by Conner Teahan. Withey then made a tying layup with 1:34 left.
The Jayhawks finally led on Teahan’s 3-pointer in the final minute for a 33-30 halftime lead.
“I’m very disappointed we lost at home,” Acy said. “We made a couple of mental mistakes at the end of the first half, and the second half, we started out with a good stop then let one mistake lead to two. They got some easy transition buckets and we couldn’t answer back.”
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