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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

No. 3 Jayhawks prevail against No. 2 Baylor

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) and Kansas forward Landen Lucas battle down low with Baylor forward Johnathan Motley (5) and Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) during the first half, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) and Kansas forward Landen Lucas battle down low with Baylor forward Johnathan Motley (5) and Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (0) during the first half, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Even facing the No. 2 team in the nation and playing without one of its top frontcourt players didn’t stop No. 3-ranked Kansas, which won its 51st consecutive game inside Allen Fieldhouse, 73-68, Wednesday night against Baylor.

Down a key sub, due to sophomore Carlton Bragg’s suspension, the Jayhawks played just one bench player, sophomore Lagerald Vick, double-digit minutes, and rode their capable starting five to a gritty victory over the long and talented Bears.

Freshman Josh Jackson, just as he did at Kentucky in another marquee victory, posted a double-double, with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, helping Kansas secure sole possession of first place in the Big 12 midway through the conference slate.

Senior Frank Mason III got going in the second half by drawing fouls and connecting on timely shots, leading to a 19-point night for KU (20-2 overall, 8-1 Big 12) — despite shooting 3-for-12 from the floor.

Though senior big Landen Lucas scored just five points, he grabbed 11 boards and made a timely layup to put Baylor (20-2, 7-2) in a four-point hole with 1:13 left.

Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:

• The game turned when: Kansas closed the game in style. Tied at 64 with 2:44 left, the Jayhawks made enough free throws and stops to come out on top.

It helped that Mason came out and asserted himself on offense to open the second half, setting the tone for the Jayhawks after a lackluster opening 20 minutes. The senior point guard got to the free-throw line by attacking the BU defense for easy points in the opening three minutes and scored a basket to give KU a six-point advantage less than four minutes in, after Baylor led by eight at the break.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self talks about 73-68 win over Baylor, defense in final minutes

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self discussed his team's 73-68 win over Baylor on Wednesday, KU's defense down the stretch and finishing 2-1 against three straight ranked opponents.

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As a team, KU shot 10-for-27 in the first half, with Jackson and Graham the only Jayhawks finding consistent success. While that duo combined to shoot 8-for-15, Mason (1-for-6), Vick (0-for-2), Svi Mykhailiuk (1-for-1), Dwight Coleby (0-for-1) and Lucas (0-for-2) combined to make just 17 percent of their attempts prior to intermission.

The Bears’ defense remained fairly effective down the stretch, but with the rabid crowd and the Jayhawks feeding off each other with every big basket or defensive stop, Kansas, per usual, prevailed on its home court.

• Offensive highlight: In a tie game, with Kansas in serious trouble late against BU, Jackson didn’t hesitate when the Bears gave him an opening along the baseline.

Beginning a straight-line drive for the hoop from the right corner, Jackson rose up as only he can do, to throw down as crucial a late-game dunk as you’ll find.

It gave KU a 66-64 edge with 2:26 remaining.

• Defensive highlight: Just to remind everyone in the fieldhouse — and the Bears — that he exists in a realm far above the rim, Jackson soared for a ridiculous block in the final minute of the first half.

With the Jayhawks needing as many stops as they could get, trailing by eight, Jackson met an Al Freeman floater in the air and denied the Bears a chance to build a double-digit lead before halftime.

Mason got his first bucket of the game on the next trip down the floor, and KU only trailed 34-28 at the break, after suffering through a dismal offensive stretch most of the first half.

• Key stat: Second-half free throws. The Jayhawks needed every one of them, and hit 16 of 23 over the course of the final 20 minutes, during a game in which they only shot 42 percent from the field.

• Up next: The Jayhawks will be back in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday for their second regular-season meeting with Iowa State (1 p.m., ESPN). KU won, 76-72, versus the Cyclones Jan. 16, in Ames, Iowa.

By the Numbers: Kansas 73, Baylor 68

By the Numbers: Kansas 73, Baylor 68

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas vs. Baylor


Comments

Jay Scott 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Scott Drew has more losses at Allen Fieldhouse than Bill Self. Unbelievable.

Jeff Soisson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

After the WVU loss I thought we were not a Final 4 team, tonight I think we are. Well done RCJH. A very tough week for any team, 3 top 10 teams??? WOW!!!

Joe Ross 9 months, 2 weeks ago

With this result in the books, you have to circle the week of February 12th on your calendars. On Monday, Feb. 13th, we get WV at home. The Mountaineers will be salivating for that game because it is a chance for them to gain ground on Kansas AND put a signature win on their resumes. Huggins has a lot of experience coaching against the Jayhawks. His press takes us out of our offense and they have the confidence of knowing they put a beat down on us already this season. If Kansas wins that game, they probably at least get a share of the conference title.

On Saturday, we have to play Baylor on their home floor. Im all kinds of impressed with how the Bears played us in Lawrence. They look like a tougher team than in years past and Motley is a beast. They also match up really well against us. They have great guards and they outman us in the post. If Kansas wins that game, I think we win the conference title outright.

Good news. Despite the back to back slate against teams near the top of the Big 12, after the Monday game against WV, Kansas gets five days until its date with Baylor on Saturday. This is a situation, then, where you can truly focus on one game at a time MENTALLY. Good news also in that we get WV and home, and in years past when WV has beaten us on their floor (like four years in a row?) we've handled them in AFH. Gotta think the players will be up for this game, especially in light of what is sure to be a lot hanging in the balance in the conference race. If we lose that game, we will have a TON of pressure as we head to Baylor, but we have the better part of a full week to practice for it. Plus, you have veterans who have been in this situation before. Gotta ride their coattails into these tough games/situations. Bottom line: assuming Kansas doesnt pull a choke in conference in someplace unexpected, if we split these games the streak will continue. PLUS...the Mountaineers and the Bears have to face off again, which helps Kansas.

Rock Chalk

Barry Weiss 9 months, 2 weeks ago

wow! another top 5 win in less than a week! No lie the first half had me worried. Once again Coach Self draws up a second have plan that shuts down Motley who was eating our lunch. Way to hold serve at home Jayhawks! I'll take are trip down murder's row, 2 great wins against 3 final four type opponents.

David Robinett 9 months, 2 weeks ago

No offense from him but Coleby is playing much better than Bragg. 6 min and 6 rebounds tonight.

Brian Babcock 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree. He's stepped right up to the challenge and will only get better.

Mike Greer 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Now that, sports fans, was one hell of a game!

Brianna Zaleski 9 months, 2 weeks ago

How do you listen to post game news conference? You used to be able to thru this site, but I can't find it anymore. Thanks

Joe Ross 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Good question. Itd be great if they cast it live.

Rock Klein 9 months, 2 weeks ago

In your By the Numbers you have the FT % switched around. KU hit 74.1% and BU hit 66.7 %.

Brian Babcock 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank goodness they (well, Mason anyway) shot free throws well.

Peter Miles 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Dwight Coleby and Mitch Lightfoot both played.

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