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These guys again: Bears seeking rare win over Jayhawks

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Baylor head coach Scott Drew and the Bears' bench watch with moments remaining during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew and the Bears' bench watch with moments remaining during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Baylor head coach Scott Drew arrived in the Big 12 the same season that Bill Self took over at Kansas. For all of Drew’s successes with the program since 2003, beating Self and the Jayhawks has proven one of the BU coach’s most difficult tasks.

Entering Tuesday night’s top-25 meeting at Waco’s Ferrell Center, Drew’s Bears have defeated a Self-coached KU team on three occasions, and only one of those came at home.

In his 13th season at Baylor, Drew, who shares with Self the distinction of longest tenured Big 12 coach, is 3-17 versus Kansas. Here are the Bears’ wins:

- 2009 Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, in Oklahoma City

- 2012 Big 12 Tournament semifinals, in Kansas City, Mo.

- 2013 regular-season finale, in Waco

As seldom as Baylor has knocked off KU, Drew actually is one of just four active coaches with 3 wins against KU since 2008-09. The others? Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford, and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins. Each of those coaches already has defeated Kansas this season.

The Jayhawks shellacked Baylor the first week of January, 102-74, in the Big 12 opener. But both teams have played 14 times since then, and you can’t expect a rematch in BU’s gymnasium to go that easily for No. 2-ranked Kansas (23-4 overall, 11-3 Big 12).

While No. 19 Baylor (20-7, 9-5) certainly doesn’t need to beat Kansas to get into the NCAA Tournament, a victory over the conference giant would clearly mean a lot to the Bears’ players and Drew. What’s more, BU — two games behind KU in the Big 12 standings — needs a win for a legitimate shot at the regular-season title.

Plus, beating KU would serve as a landmark victory for the program. Baylor is 0-15 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the AP Top 25.

As the Bears aim for a little payback and some history, here are some numbers to watch during KU-BU Part 2:

- Baylor is 20-0 this season when it has taken the lead at any point in the 2nd half of a game

- Baylor is 14-0 this season when winning the turnover battle, and 13-1 when getting more points off turnovers

- Baylor is 6-0 this season in games decided by 5 or fewer points or in overtime

- Baylor is 20-2 this season when shooting 40% or better from the field and 0-5 when shooting less than 40%

As for BU’s strengths? The Bears rank in the top 15 in the nation in:

- Assists per game (2nd, 19.1 apg; behind only Michigan State’s 20.7)

- Offensive rebound percentage (4th, 40.3%)

- Steal percentage (8th, 12%)

- Rebound margin (13th, +8.4 rpg)

- Assist-to-turnover ratio (15th, 1.52)

With all of those factors in mind, here are the Bears KU has to worry about in a critical late-February Big 12 matchup.

BAYLOR STARTERS

No. 21 — F Taurean Prince | 6-8, 220, sr.

Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu (25) defends as Baylor's Taurean Prince (21) drives to the basket in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won in double overtime, 79-72. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu (25) defends as Baylor's Taurean Prince (21) drives to the basket in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won in double overtime, 79-72. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 17 points, 2/6 FGs, 1/3 3s, 12/12 FTs, 3 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 blocks, 2 steals in 22 minutes*

  • Baylor’s leading scorer, senior Taurean Prince (15.1 points) also gets rebounds (5.7) and steals (1.4) with the best of them. Prince ranks 5th in the Big 12 in scoring, 11th in boards and 10th in takeaways.

  • Prince’s active approach to everything he does also gets him to the free-throw line, where he shoots 83.3%, and helps make BU an elite offensive rebounding team. Prince gets 2.4 rebounds a game on offense. This year, he has 18 put-backs, per hoop-math.com.

  • A double-figure scorer in 10 straight games, Prince can be a streaky 3-point threat. On the year, he has shot 36.1% from deep. Looking at just his past 6 games, Prince has made 9 of 21 (42.3%). However, he didn’t make a single shot from downtown in 3 of those games.

No. 2 — C/F Rico Gathers | 6-8, 275, sr.

Baylor's Taurean Prince, left, and Rico Gathers (2) celebrate a basket by Gathers against Texas in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. Gathers had 20 points and Prince had 18 in the 67-59 loss to Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Baylor's Taurean Prince, left, and Rico Gathers (2) celebrate a basket by Gathers against Texas in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Waco, Texas. Gathers had 20 points and Prince had 18 in the 67-59 loss to Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 12 points, 5/8 FGs, 2/4 FTs, 9 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 block in 29 minutes*

  • One of the strongest post players in the nation, senior Rico Gathers (12.2 points) ranks 3rd in Big 12 history in career rebounds, with 1,096. Only KU legend Nick Collison (1,143) and Texas’ Damion James (1,318) have more.

  • Gathers is the best offensive rebounder in the nation, securing 19.6% of his team’s misses. The powerful forward has used that skill to produce 53 put-backs this season.

  • With a team-best 8 double-doubles, Gathers averages 10.0 boards a game this year. But the senior hasn’t topped 9 rebounds in his past 6 games and missed 2 of the past 4 games with the flu. Gathers only played 15 minutes at Texas this past weekend, grabbing 4 boards.

  • In Big 12 play, Gathers is shooting 50% from the floor, but just 58.6% from the free-throw line — and he leads the Bears in free-throw attempts.

No. 25 — G Al Freeman | 6-3, 200, soph.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pulls up for a three against Baylor guard Al Freeman (25) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13).

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pulls up for a three against Baylor guard Al Freeman (25) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13). by Nick Krug

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 6 points, 2/10 FGs, 0/3 3s, 2/2 FTs, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers in 32 minutes*

  • The Bears’ top 3-point shooter, sophomore Al Freeman (11.6 points) has nailed 40% from downtown this season, with a team-leading 42 makes.

  • When Freeman gets hot offensively, it generally means good things for Baylor. The Bears are 21-2 in his career double-figure scoring outings.

  • In BU’s last 6 games, Freeman actually has failed to reach double figures in points on 4 occasions. In that stretch, Freeman has made 20 of his 42 field-goal attempts (47.6%). So he’s just seen a drop in usage in his off games more than anything.

  • Freeman’s drop in production in the past 6 games coincides with teams limiting his 3-point shooting. He shot 3-for-3 from deep and scored 21 points at Kansas State. In 5 other February games combined, Freeman has made 1 3-pointer on 10 tries.

  • All of Baylor’s starters get to the foul line, and in Big 12 play, Freeman has been the second-best shooter, making 43 of 50 (86%), just 0.003 behind Prince.

No. 11 — PG Lester Medford | 5-10, 175, sr.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends against a pass from Baylor guard Lester Medford (11) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is Baylor forward Taurean Prince (21).

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) defends against a pass from Baylor guard Lester Medford (11) during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. In back is Baylor forward Taurean Prince (21). by Nick Krug

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 15 points, 5/12 FGs, 1/1 3s, 4/5 FTs, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal in 34 minutes*

  • Baylor’s play-maker, senior Lester Medford (9.7 points) dishes out 6.9 assists a game.

  • Medford is the only player in the country who ranks in the top 45 in assists (8th), assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3, 20th) and steals (1.9, 42nd). No one in the Big 12 has more defensive thefts than Medford.

  • The veteran guard hit game-winning shots for BU twice this season: a 3-pointer against Vanderbilt and another 3 at Texas Tech.

  • In Big 12 play, Medford has been BU’s best 3-point shooter. A 38.5% 3-point maker on the year, he’s shooting 45.8% in league games, with 22 makes on 48 attempts.

  • Medford’s 2-point shots in conference action haven’t been nearly as productive: 23 of 65 (35.4%).

No. 24 — G/F Ishmail Wainright | 6-5, 230, jr.

Kansas State's D.J. Johnson (4) and Baylor's Ishmail Wainright battle for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Manhattan, Kan. Baylor won 82-72. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas State's D.J. Johnson (4) and Baylor's Ishmail Wainright battle for a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Manhattan, Kan. Baylor won 82-72. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 7 points, 3/7 FGs, 1/2 3s, 7 rebounds (3 offensive), 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 1 block, 4 fouls in 22 minutes*

  • A key cog in everything Baylor does, junior Ishmail Wainright (5.6 points) is starting to knock down 3-pointers when he gets good looks from behind the arc. In his last 5 games, Wainright has nailed 8 of 12 from 3-point land. That’s more 3’s than he hit in his first 2 seasons combined (5).

  • On the year, Wainright has made 21 of 51 3-pointers (41.2%) and is shooting 42.2% from the floor overall, while adding 4.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

  • If Wainright seems like a totally different player than he did a year ago in a reserve role, it’s because he shed 30 pounds in the offseason.

  • This past weekend, Wainright led BU with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, while adding 4 points in the Bears’ 14-point road win at Texas.

BAYLOR BENCH

No. 5 — F Johnathan Motley | 6-9, 230, soph.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) puts up a shot over Baylor forward Johnathan Motley (5) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Cheick Diallo (13) puts up a shot over Baylor forward Johnathan Motley (5) during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 8 points, 2/8 FGs, 4/6 FTs, 6 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 0 turnovers, 2 blocks, fouled out in 21 minutes off the bench*

  • The primary offensive contributor off Baylor’s bench, sophomore Johnathan Motley (11.5 points, 2nd in Big 12 among backups) has put up double figures 14 times this season, and BU has an 11-3 record when he hits or surpasses the 10-point mark.

  • While the Bears got blown out at the fieldhouse to open league play, Motley had the best +/- of BU players to register double-digit minutes: -7. His length and athleticism can give Kansas issues inside, around the rim, if he can stay on the floor and avoid foul trouble.

  • No one in the Big 12 is as effective a scorer as Motley, whose 67% success rate on field-goal attempts leads the league.

  • Not only does Motley convert 75.9% of his shots at the rim, he shoots 53.9% on 2-point jumpers (any shot inside the arc not considered a layup or dunk) — 55 of 102.

  • Motley has actually started the past 2 BU games and 3 of the last 4, in place of Gathers (illness).

  • The second-year forward ranks 2nd in the Big 12 in blocks (1.2) and 10th in offensive rebounding (2.2), while playing 20.2 minutes a game. Motley has 26 put-backs on the season.

  • In Big 12 games, Motley is BU’s 2nd-best scorer, with a 12.2 ppg average. He has only attempted 1 shot from 3-point range in league games and he missed it.

No. 31 — F Terry Maston | 6-7, 215, soph.

None by Baylor Basketball

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 7 points, 3/4 FGs, 1/2 FTs, 1 (offensive) rebound, 1 turnover in 8 minutes off the bench*

  • Another substitute scoring threat, sophomore Terry Maston (6.6 points, 13.3 minutes) shoots 57.3% from the floor. Maston doesn’t qualify for Big 12 rankings (minimum of 4.0 FG made/game), but he place rank third in the league in FG% if he did.

  • In Big 12 play alone, Maston averages 7.5 points on 58.4% shooting.

  • Just like Motley, Maston knows the best shots for him, and makes 67.5% at the rim and 52% on 2-point jumpers.

  • Maston also gets to the foul line for easy points, shooting 83.3% on his 2.0 attempts per game — remember, he doesn’t get many minutes.

  • Some games, Drew just doesn’t use Maston that much (see: 3 minutes at Texas, and 4 minutes vs. Texas Tech in 2 of the past 3 games). But the explosive sub put up 15 points in 17 minutes vs. Iowa State.

No. 3 — PG Jake Lindsey | 6-5, 190, fr.

None by Big 12 Conference

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 2 points, 1/2 FGs, 1 assist, 0 turnovers, 1 steal in 20 minutes off the bench*

  • Drew doesn’t ask too much from his freshman backup point, Jake Lindsey (2.5 points in 13.4 minutes), because of how much BU relies upon Medford.

  • The youngster takes great care of the ball, though, with 62 assists and just 19 turnovers on the season. Lindsey’s 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio is 4th in the Big 12.

  • Lindsey has proven he can defend larger players, too, drawing Iowa State’s Georges Niang within BU’s triangle-and-2 zone late in a Jan. 9 road win.

  • Lindsey has yet to incorporate the 3-point shot as a weapon (2 of 13, 15.4% on the season; and 0-for-1 in the Big 12).

No. 22 — G King McClure | 6-3, 200, fr.

None by Baylor Basketball

  • — Jan. 2 at KU: 0 points, 0/1 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1 turnover in 9 minutes off the bench*

  • Another young Bear off the bench, freshman King McClure (4.4 points) has grown more comfortable as the season progresses.

  • In the last 12 games, McClure averages 5.8 points, and has made 12 of his 29 3-point bombs (41.4%).

  • McClure is hitting 46.2% of his shots overall this season, while making 37.7% of his 3-pointers.

  • He hasn’t made a 3-pointer in BU’s past 3 games (0-for-5).

Comments

Danny Hernandez 2 years, 12 months ago

This could be the toughest test Kansas faces before the NCAA's. Come out strong and don't let Baylor get comfortable. Kansas goes how Frank and Devonte go!

Dirk Medema 2 years, 12 months ago

This and @ UT, but even ISU and TT aren't pushovers even at Allen. Just about any game in the Big12 is a potential land mine. Very true though, play strong and intense, and we will prevail.

I think Coach enjoys beating Drew maybe more than any other coach.

Dave Miller 2 years, 12 months ago

Seems like Prince and Gathers have been at Baylor for 6 or 7 years....

Danny Hernandez 2 years, 12 months ago

Yes, just like Forte at okie lite who will be back for a 5th year due to the medical redshirt. That's also what they say @perry Ellis.

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