If a top-five matchup wasn’t enough motivation for No. 3 Kansas, being down 13 points at halftime would usually serve as a sufficient wakeup call.
But it wasn’t a vintage KU comeback at Allen Fieldhouse, as No. 4 Baylor rolled to a 67-55 victory over KU Saturday afternoon. This is Baylor’s first win in Allen Fieldhouse (previously 0-16).
The Jayhawks spent the majority of the first half crawling out of hole as KU fell down 9-3 early. And after the Jayhawks clawed their way to a 15-12 lead midway through the first half, Baylor caught fire the rest of the way to halftime. The Bears ended the first half on a 22-4 run to take a 37-24 lead.
What made matters worse for KU was sophomore guard Devon Dotson dealing with an apparent hip injury. He managed to start the second half for the Jayhawks, but went back to the bench after just one possession.
View a gallery of images from Saturday's game between the Jayhawks and Bears at Allen Fieldhouse.
But with Dotson out, the KU offense hit a bit of a standstill. The Jayhawks managed to cut the lead to 41-36, but the Bears quickly retaliated to extend the lead back out to double digits.
Dotson did return, but still the Bears never wavered. Baylor looked to be the better team on Saturday and controlled both ends of the floor en route to road win.
Here’s a quick look back at some of the action:
• The game turned when:
Baylor went on a 22-4 run to end the first half.
After falling behind early, KU jumped back out to a 15-12 lead after switching to a four-guard lineup. Ball movement and spacing was better for the Jayhawks in this set, even if they still at times struggled to get the ball inside to senior center Udoka Azubuike.
However, Baylor found a spark of their own with eight minutes left in the first half. KU briefly switched back to a two-big lineup, and the Bears went on a run of their own. Whether it was Dotson seemingly playing hurt, KU’s inability to hit shots or the aggressive play of Baylor, the Bears soared to 22-4 run to end the first half. And the Bears never gave up that lead.
• Offensive highlight:
While KU struggled offensively for much of this game — especially with Dotson sidelined — there were still several standout plays from the Jayhawks.
And while the comeback ultimately didn’t come to fruition, a tough layup from junior guard Marcus Garrett midway through the second half seemed like it could have been the necessary spark.
Garrett, who took over point guard duties with Dotson, asked for Azubuike to clear out the lane instead of set the screen. Then, with a slight opening, Garrett charged into the paint for a contested, off-balance layup. This cut the lead to 39-34 and put KU back in striking distance.
• Defensive highlight:
Defensively KU was also suspect, but there were a handful of steals and blocks that managed to briefly stifle the Baylor attack.
One came early in the second half as KU attempted to start the comeback. Freshman guard Tristan Enaruna had just checked into the game and he made his presence felt quickly.
Baylor redshirt senior forward Freddie Gillespie caught the ball deep in the paint under the basket, looking for the easy layup. However, Enaruna was there to meet him with two hands, blocking the shot and momentarily re-energizing the Jayhawk crowd.
• Up next:
KU will next play Oklahoma on the road on Tuesday. Tip-off is at 8 p.m.