Kansas defeats Baylor, 67-65

  • noon, Feb. 18, 2017
  • The Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Last Stand: No. 3 Jayhawks surge past No. 4 Baylor in final minutes, 67-65

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) roars before a dejected Baylor student section as time expires in the Jayhawks' 67-65 win, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) roars before a dejected Baylor student section as time expires in the Jayhawks' 67-65 win, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.


— As the Kansas Jayhawks filed off the floor of Baylor’s Ferrell Center on Saturday afternoon, some looking exhausted, others with arms raised in victory, assistant coach Jerrance Howard hollered instructions on the way back to the locker room.

“Let’s get outta here,” Howard yelled. “Let’s get outta here. Nobody’s showering. Let’s get outta here.”

Hygiene questions aside, Howard’s postgame plans clearly demonstrated one thing — the Jayhawks came to Waco for one reason.

And with their latest victory in hand, yet another down-to-the-wire, 67-65 victory over No. 4 Baylor, there was no need to waste time sticking around.

“As far as a mental toughness team, I would take this team and go to the house and let it ride however it goes,” KU coach Bill Self said after the win. “(Late in the game, you) gotta have great possessions every time, and these guys did it.”

Kansas (24-3 overall, 12-2 Big 12) now boasts wins over No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Baylor, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 4 Baylor and No. 9 West Virginia. Four of those came in the past three weeks.

“And three of the four (top-five) wins were away from home,” Self said. “It’s incredible to me.”

With the dark cloud of poor free throw shooting hanging over this team for most of the season, Self has cautioned that a bad night at the free-throw line could cost his team a game. Saturday, for the second weekend in a row, it was a trip to the free-throw line late that won the game, this victory coming on a pair of Landen Lucas free throws with 11.5 seconds remaining that broke a 65-all tie.

Asked if they were confident Lucas would knock the pressure-packed free throws down, several Jayhawks responded without hesitation.

"We’ve been inconsistent, but shooting 80 percent (16-of-20) from the line gave us a chance today," Self said.

Added junior guard Devonte’ Graham: “I told him before he shot it, ‘Shoot it nice and soft and no rim.’ That’s what we always tell each other. If it touches the rim, it don’t count. And he made both of ’em, so it was good.”

Lucas’ clutch free throws capped an 8-0 Kansas run that closed the game.

After trailing by as many as 12 points just before halftime and still by six with 3:34 to play — facing double-digit deficits and finding a way to overcome them has sort of become KU’s thing these days — the Jayhawks got multiple tough plays from the team’s three best players on Saturday: Lucas, Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson.

More importantly, they never blinked.

“We were down more than that last game against West Virginia,” said Mason, referencing KU’s 14-point deficit during last Monday’s wild, overtime win. “I think we just showed toughness and we showed leadership and the younger guys did a great job of following and executing down the stretch.”

Baylor built its lead by responding to a five-point deficit that was an inch or two away from becoming eight with just under 10 minutes to play.

That’s when an 11-0 KU run, sparked by Mason (23 points, 8 assists in 39 minutes), turned a 47-41 Baylor lead into a 52-47 Kansas advantage. The only make of the day from Svi Mykhailiuk, who suffered through a rough shooting day (1-of-6 overall, 1-of-5 from 3-point range), put Kansas up five with 10:18 to play and his in-and-out 3 from in front of the KU bench 65 seconds later nearly put Baylor in a heck of hole.

Instead, Mykhailiuk’s make, against Baylor’s tough zone, represented the Jayhawks’ lone basket in a 6:23 Kansas drought during which the Bears reclaimed control heading into the final minutes.

“I told our coaches before the game that Svi and Devonte’ will be the ones that win the game the game for us because they’re gonna play zone,” Self said after the victory. “And they go 2-for-18. So it just goes to show you, you just never know. Other guys step up and make plays.”

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After a pair of King McClure free throws gave Baylor a 65-59 lead with 3:34 to play, those “other guys” came through in a big way.

First was Jackson, whose drive and finish through contact with no call pulled Kansas within four. On the next possession, Mason did the driving and found a cutting Jackson for a ferocious one-handed jam, one of four monster slams on the day for the KU freshman.

One possession later, Graham swished a pair of free throws. Seventy-eight seconds after staring at yet another uphill climb, the Jayhawks had tied the game and set the stage for a wild finish.

In the final 1:47 alone, Baylor missed four shots, got what had to seem like 40 hands on bouncing balls and held Kansas without a field goal.

But it was Lucas’ offensive rebound of a missed 3-pointer by Graham (1-of-12 overall, 1-of-9 from 3-point range) with 15 seconds remaining that put the final touches on KU’s latest win.

“It was huge,” said Mason of Lucas’ sixth offensive rebound of the day. “Coach said he was the only one (who should) crash the glass on the final possession and thank God he was the person he chose.”

Baylor (22-5, 9-5) had one shot to tie or win, but got what Mason described as a shot they “settled” for thanks to KU’s stifling defense.

Knowing they did not want to let Baylor throw it inside to Johnathan Motley (19 points, 9 rebounds), the Jayhawks denied everything to Baylor’s most dangerous weapon and kept the action on the perimeter. With a hobbling Manu Lecomte (16 points, 4-of-9 from 3-point range) looking to create and Mason hounding him, Jackson abandoned 7-footer Jo Lual-Acuil to double-team Lecomte near the wing.

“We figured Acuil wouldn’t shoot the last shot so might as well double,” Jackson said with a shrug.

Instead of recovering back to his man, Jackson stayed to help Mason challenge Lecomte’s shot attempt, which glanced off the rim and sent the Jayhawks sprinting to mid-court to celebrate their latest victory.

“I think we were great on the last possession,” the always-modest Mason said. “Everyone was locked into what coach wanted us to do.”

Added Self: “I thought those guys did an unbelievable job at game point.... I’m really proud of our guys and how hard they compete.”

By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Baylor 65

By the Numbers: Kansas 67, Baylor 65

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

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Baylor


Humpy Helsel 5 years, 4 months ago

Turnover advantage was the difference. We lagged in just about every other category. Wow! What a tough bunch. Just the kind of team Bill Self loves to coach.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 4 months ago

This team lacks fundamentals as much as a Bill Self coached team possibly could. It makes up for that being about as tough mentally as any team he's had. And that's saying something.

In some sense, this team is remarkable. In others its obviously flawed. But they are tough as hell, and regardless of what happens, its been fun to watch.

Bryan Fisher 5 years, 4 months ago

This team has been ranked #1-4 all year long. They have a 3-game lead on their way to win a 13th straight Big 12 title.

How can a team that elite, let alone any KU team lack fundamentals? How are they OBVIOUSLY flawed?

Jay Scott 5 years, 4 months ago

To the Chicken Littles, anything short of Wilt at center with Embiid backing him up, Manning and Simien, Wiggins and Pierce, Ben Mac and Rush, Chalmers and.. Frank... All shooting 100% from the line, committing zero turnovers or fouls is.... Flawed. Oh.. And all in bed alone by 9 every night.

Actually, it would have to be Withey and Embiid at center. Wilt was too flawed.. He would never make all his free throws.

Joe Ross 5 years, 4 months ago


I dont think what Brian is saying is entirely incorrect. Lets consider it this way. Taking the "forest" perspective, these guys are amateurs and so there are going to be a lot of flaws, just based on the nature of the beast that we're dealing with. Seems to me that college coaching requires a lot of things, among them personal development, building knowledge and team chemistry, and limiting mistakes. But for sure, mistakes and flaws are there. Someone should check out some numbers, but my intuition is that this team makes a lot of turnovers given the great ball-handling and heavy guard play. Their passing is atrocious at times as well as their perimeter defense. One could point to other areas. The real question, based on the original comment, is whether or not this team is any more flawed than other Bill Self-coached teams. Whatever the answer is, it's not a matter of opinion. There are objective stats that will reveal the answer one way or the other.

Jay Scott 5 years, 4 months ago

Kansas averages 13 turnovers per game(rounded off by ESPN) . That's the lowest number of the Self era.

Tim Orel 5 years, 4 months ago

What was Landen Lucas so angry about in the 1st half? He was yelling at Svi it seemed for a few plays in a row. Was there a problem with Svi (he did not have a good day) or was it something else Landen was angry about?

Kent Richardson 5 years, 4 months ago

I thought he was pissed at the refs. Which he hardly does.

Barry Weiss 5 years, 4 months ago

Landen did show a bit more emotion today than normal. I'm cool with that. He knows we are down to crunch time and will get on another player or the refs. He's really come on strong. That last rebound was simply hugh, and then to knock down both FT's. As his FT shooting has gone down in recent games, I notice he had very little arch on them. But he hit two hugh ones today! Awesome game!

Aaron Paisley 5 years, 4 months ago

Svi has been playing like trash for weeks now. LL was not the only guy on him early. Graham and Bill Self were also yelling at Svi because of his early turnovers and nonexistent defense.

David Robinett 5 years, 4 months ago

Dirk, give a brother a break with auto correct.

Ray Buckingham 5 years, 4 months ago

Landon won't throw a teammate under the bus, but Svi has been terrible on the defensive end lately. On the play in question, Svi was very late recovering in transition. Prior to that play, Svi was in la-la land several times allowing his man to blow by him and way too late on help defense. Other players have been in "funks" at times this year. Svi is in one now.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 4 months ago

Looking at the seedings and provided we win out which is likely ....Oklahoma State might get testy but for the sake of saying we run the table the Big12 tourney ....Villanova may get the No.1 overall seed thing is for sure we wont be on the bubble come selection sunday.....i find it a farce that the brackets projections are coming out ...i saw one that had KU playing Wichita State 2nd game in the tourney.......i saw another bracket that had Duke Kentucky and Michigan State in the Midwest region with Kansas....I wont put much stock in anything until selection sunday......

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 4 months ago

Graham has struggled shooting the last couple games although he was clutch against WV when we needed a couple big shots ...... My concern is if he continues his poor shooting his draft status wont be as appealing and he will end up being the starting point guard on next years Kansas Jayhawk team..............oh wait !!!!!!!!! That's not such a bad thing ....

Barry Weiss 5 years, 4 months ago

I think Graham has pretty much accepted somewhat of a backseat to Frank. I know early in the year the mantra was pretty much the two were equal so to speak. But its hard to have two leaders at that position. So I think he backed off some. Its why I've always thought he would not enter the draft this year and be the leader of next year's team and get his draft stock maybe into the first round.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 4 months ago

I watch as many B12 games as I can stand. The first thing I see is how hard these teams play. Not always with success but how hard they go after it. OSU is freaking relentless. I hope we take it personal on how easy Evans makes it look when getting to the rim.

Mallory, ESPN's Bracketology has KU #1 vs WSU #8 in the Tulsa second round matchup for the last four weeks. The only change has been who WSU is playing in the first round. I will drive the 105 miles, for me, to see that one, if I can afford it.

I've said this before but if Josh averages 24 and 11 over the next 7 games he is at 18 and 8 for the season and is, along with Frank, a good choice for first team All-American. Will that be possible? Last time was 2005-06 Duke, JJ Reddick and Shelden Williams and Duke in 2000-01, Jason Williams and Mike Dunleavy. East coaster?

If we think playing at The Sprint is conducive to a possible Final Four berth then will a loss in the B12 post season tourney be a bad thing? Not a killer but bad karma.

I'm not sold on a Final Four yet but could be with a spike in better three point shooting.

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