Embiid on Monday was named CBSsports.com’s national player of the week. By Gary Bedore
The scoreboard isn’t always the best indicator of which team will win a game, a series, a championship. Wayne Selden, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound freshman guard from Roxbury, Mass., saw the ball flying out of bounds Monday night at Allen Field House and ran after it. Thinking quickly, he went in the air to save it. By Tom Keegan
Although the game is complicated to the core in so many ways, sometimes the difference between winning and losing a basketball game can be boiled down to the simplest things. No. 24 Baylor found that out the hard way on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Bears were outscored by 17 points at the free-throw line in a 78-68 loss to No. 8 Kansas. By Matt Tait
Kansas coach Bill Self liked aspects of what he saw out of his Jayhawks in a 78-68 home win over Baylor. And he addressed Andrew Wiggins living up to the so-called hype.
Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins talk with the media following a 78-68 Kansas home win against Baylor.
By Matt Tait --- email@example.com ---
It was not the game we've come to expect when Kansas and Baylor hook up in Allen Fieldhouse, but the end result was the same.
Rather than knocking the Bears out with a devastating first-half run, the Jayhawks had to grind through the first half and take control in the second, with things like hustle plays, loose balls bouncing their way and ice cold Baylor shooting really benefitting the home team in a 78-68 victory.
The win improves Kansas to 14-4 overall and 5-0 in Big 12 play and drops Baylor to 13-5 and 1-4. The Bears now have lost three straight, with their only win in conference play coming at home over TCU.
Despite Baylor hitting 8-of-10 first-half three-point tries, Kansas led 37-35 at halftime, thanks to strong performances from Joel Embiid (10 first-half points) and Frank Mason, who finished the first 20 minutes with seven points while spelling Tharpe, who sat for more than half of the half with two fouls.
Things ended up pretty balanced for the Jayhawks in the scoring column by game's end, as Andrew Wiggins (17), Perry Ellis (18) and Joel Embiid (12) all reached double figures.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when: Wayne Selden went all Superman into the fifth row and saved a ball from going out of bounds to punctuate a 10-2 KU run that turned a 43-42 lead into a 53-44 cushion with 10:21 to play. The run started when Naadir Tharpe drilled the first shot he took all night and continued when Perry Ellis scored back-to-back baskets, including a steal and three-point play. But the save by Selden was as fine a hustle play as I can ever remember seeing and it proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this team got Bill Self's message — loud and clear — about those little plays making a big difference.
• Offensive highlight: With KU struggling to get much in the half-court against Baylor's zone, the Jayhawks tried to turn up the pace after missed shots to get easy buckets in transition. The easiest such hoop came with 3:54 remaining in the first half, when Frank Mason raced up the floor looking to score but saw Joel Embiid up ahead of the pack. With the flick of his wrists, Mason lobbed the ball toward the rim and Embiid took care of the rest, hammering home the alley-oop and bringing his knees up to his chest on the follow-through. The bucket put KU up 31-28 and propelled the Jayhawks to the halftime lead. There also was the tip-in by Andrew Wiggins in the second half, when he picked up two rebounds and two points in the same motion by volleyball-batting the ball into the net.
• Defensive highlight: If two blocks by two different players in a five-second span can be considered a single highlight, then that takes the cake for this one. With just over 17 minutes still remaining in the first half, Perry Ellis swatted away a shot attempt in the paint by Baylor's Taurean Prince. The block was solid and had a little extra venom behind it. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, it redirected the ball right to Isaiah Austin, who scooped it up and immediately went to the rim with it. One problem: There waiting was KU's Joel Embiid, who promptly rejected that one, which led to a fast-break for the Jayhawks.
• Key stat: Free-throw shooting. The Jayhawks hit 26 of their 29 free throw attempts. In a game in which Baylor hung around for a lot longer than they normally do at Allen Fieldhouse, things could have been much more interesting had KU not been on from the line. Oh, and while KU was drilling everything, the Bears shot just 9-of-20 from the free throw line, compounding their problem.
• Up next: After a wild stretch against ranked opponents, the Jayhawks will take a few days off and jump back into action on Saturday, when they play at 8 p.m. at TCU. Top 25, dropping 12 spots this week after setbacks against Texas Tech and Oklahoma.