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Kansas defeats Baylor, 83-59

  • 3 p.m., Feb. 5, 2022
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Baylor beatdown: No. 10 Kansas clobbers 8th-ranked Baylor to take a 2-game lead in Big 12 race

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) comes in for a dunk against Baylor during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) comes in for a dunk against Baylor during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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In the days leading up to the Jayhawks’ home showdown with Kentucky on Jan. 29, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self went out of his way to express how insignificant that game was in the big picture of KU’s season.

Fast-forward one week, to Saturday’s 83-59 drubbing of No. 8 Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse, and it was easy to see that the Jayhawks’ loss to Kentucky meant a lot more than anyone could have realized.

After falling behind 2-0 in the game’s opening minute, the 10th-ranked Jayhawks unleashed an all-out blitz on the Bears, ripping off runs of 12-0 and 23-5 to take complete control of the game and leave the Bears looking for an escape route at the soonest possible minute.

“We haven’t lost two home games back to back in a long time,” said KU junior Christian Braun after the victory. “We all kind of knew that, and we don’t lose at home often. We especially don’t lose at home in conference. The energy (early) kind of reflected that.”

As a result, the Jayhawks (19-3 overall, 8-1 Big 12) now own a two-game lead over Baylor in the conference race at the midway point. And, perhaps more importantly, have righted the ship with a 180-degree turn from where things sat just one week ago.

“We had a great week,” Self said. “People make a lot about last Saturday, which is fine, but it’s not near as important as these last two games. If last Saturday somehow inspired us or lit a fire under us to maybe regroup or whatever, then I’m glad it happened.”

Kansas was terrific in the first half against Baylor, bullying the Bears around the rim and playing with more pace and passion everywhere else.

Eleven of KU’s first 23 points came in transition, and KU’s defense fueled several fastbreak opportunities, which both led to easy buckets and brought the home crowd into the game in a major way.

“When we get out on fastbreaks, it’s kind of hard to slow us down,” said KU sophomore Jalen Wilson, who scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished four assists with two steals in the win.

He and Braun (18 points, 10 rebounds and three assists) were relentless in the early going. And that allowed KU senior Ochai Agbaji, who returned from a one-game COVID-19 absence, to find his rhythm early, as well.

Agbaji finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in his 32 minutes, but all three Jayhawks who led the team in scoring on Saturday wanted to praise the play of their defense above everything else.

Self was right there with them.

“I thought our defense was probably as good as it’s been all year,” Self said after the victory, which featured KU holding Baylor to 29.6% shooting, which was both a season-best and the lowest by a top-10 opponent against Kansas since Arizona shot 28.3% in a loss to KU in 2005.

Wilson, Braun and Agbaji gave most of the credit for that to the play of point guards Dajuan Harris Jr. and Joe Yesufu, who limited Baylor leading scorer James Akinjo to 0-of-11 shooting and a goose egg in the points column on the stat sheet.

“He’s not going to do that very often, if ever again,” Self said of Akinjo finishing scoreless. “But he had to take hard shots. I mean, they made him work.”

"It was Juan and Joe," Wilson said. "They set the tone."

Added Braun: "Coming into the game, we knew how important Akinjo was to their team. And Juan and Joe did a great job of just kind of cutting the head off (of Baylor's attack)."

Baylor coach Scott Drew, who drew a technical foul early in the second half for storming onto the floor to dispute a call, opened his postgame meeting with the media by praising the way the Jayhawks took it to his team from the opening tip.

“Well, that’s now how we envisioned the day,” Drew said. “Blame starts with me. I didn’t prepare our guys well enough, obviously. They killed us in transition, killed us in second-chance points, and that’s 30 points in the first half.”

For the game, KU outscored the Bears 20-13 in second-chance points and 17-9 in transition. Neither number accurately reflects the surge with which those two stats carried Kansas to the runaway victory.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Braun, who played with the kind of fire and ferocity that he showed in the early minutes of KU’s whipping of Missouri in December. “We did a really good job today coming out with more energy than we did last Saturday.”

The Jayhawks led 39-21 at the break and pushed their lead to as many as 34 points (79-45) before cruising to the finish line.

Of the technical, which led to a pair of David McCormack free throws that made the score 46-26 in favor of Kansas with 17:10 still to play, Drew said simply: “I’ve been coming here 19 years. Sometimes things boil over. … I think it snowballed on us. We haven’t been beaten like that in three, four years.”

If you made a list of things that went right for Kansas and wrong for Baylor (19-4, 7-3) on Saturday, it would’ve rival the length of James Naismith’s original rules of basketball, which are housed in the DeBruce Center next to Allen Fieldhouse.

Although Naismith could never have imagined what the sport would evolve into, the game’s inventor himself, no doubt, would have been proud of the execution and complete precision the Jayhawks played with in all areas on Saturday.

KU shot, passed, rebounded defended and hustled better and harder than Baylor throughout the game.

Had it not been for KU’s 17 turnovers — compared to 14 by Baylor — the Jayhawks would’ve picked up a clean sweep and outperformed the Bears in every statistical category.

Even the KU crowd was at its best in this one, roaring with approval throughout the game and ripping off chants of “Baylor’s soft” and “over-rated” during the second half.

“We circled these three games on our calendar,” Self said of Tuesday’s win at Iowa State, Saturday’s win over Baylor and playing at Texas on Monday night. “We know that that (stretch will) go a long ways (toward) the success of our conference season. We got two, now we need to go try to get a third.”

Comments

Barry Weiss 6 months, 1 week ago

Loved our energy! That was a clinic we put on how to play defense. Great rebounding effort too! When we play like that, it really does not matter who is scoring and who is not. Now we need to take that effort to Austin on Monday night! Rock Chalk!

Len Shaffer 6 months, 1 week ago

Come on, guys, where are all the complainers from last week??? Is it possible that it really was just ONE bad game???

Bryce Landon 6 months ago

Kansas should NEVER have bad games in Allen Fieldhouse. Period.

Matt Gauntt 6 months ago

Some people make themselves feel good when they can complain about someone else and seemingly make themselves look smarter......except they aren't. It's only in their minds.

Lee Short 6 months, 1 week ago

Len, I don't understand your comment. You can critique when things are bad. You can also be happy when things go well. That is not inconsistent.

I don't normally defend those noting the sky s falling, but in this case I will.

Did you not here Fran Fascilla on ESPN note how good it was for KU to get creamed by Kentucky? He then noted that the lopsided loss by Baylor could make or break Baylor's season. It depends on how they respond.

KU responded appropriately in the 2 games following one of the worst home losses in Self's career at KU.

Hopefully, we will keep the train rolling at Texas. Can't let up now.

Rock chalk.

Steve Zimmerman 6 months, 1 week ago

What another great win! Previous one we beat a good ISU team without Ochai, today we won against the defending B12 champ with Ochai. I don't think it'll make any difference had Cryer been there - we'd still kick their butts. If our players keep playing full laser focus, energy as if there's no tomorrow like that, we'll be streamrolling all the way through March. Even with DMac, who's still called for moving screen up till his 4th year and still missing bunnies/lobs. Glad we shot 50% today while our suffocating D cost them a mere 30% FG. Keep it up, boys!!! ROCK CHALK!!!!!

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Maybe we’re not going to lose 6 conference games. At the very least we won’t lose twice to BU.

It’s always nice to see the team continue to develop, especially the D. Maybe that’s good coaching?

Bryce Landon 6 months ago

I didn't get to see the game because I was at a funeral, but when I had a free moment to check the score and saw KU was laying the lumber to BU, I was pleasantly surprised. From what I'm reading and from the highlights I saw on the Big 12's YouTube channel, it would seem that KU turned in its best effort of the season - and against the defending national champions, no less! A pity I missed it, but I'm glad they turned the Bears into rugs.

Today's win doesn't entirely erase the stench of last week's $#!+show against UK, nor does it change the fact that we haven't posted a perfect record at home since 2019, of all years. But today's win, along with Tuesday's win at ISU, does make it appear that this team has finally turned the corner and become the powerhouse team it has always been capable of becoming.

Micky Baker 6 months ago

Great transition basketball today. More importantly, the defense was elite during the first half, not that we forced a ton of turnovers, but kept Baylor from getting good shots, and a low shooting percentage for the opponent is as good as forcing turnovers when it is because they couldn't get the shots they wanted against our defense. Harris' stock with me is rising in a big way, and Braun ran the floor today. Ochai did not go off in scoring today, but 9 rebounds and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line, and 18 points is a good game. His two assists lit up the Phog crowd. Braun with the double-double is a good thing to look at in the box score. There are some plays that there are no statistics for. A lot of the guys hustled after loose balls and beat Baylor to the ball. It is actually fortunate for Baylor we did not win by 40. We didn't shoot it that well from the perimeter, but we had so many easy looks at the rim on fastbreaks it didn't hurt us.

The one big thing is that everyone gave a big effort on defense.Baylor took 9 more shots than us, but made 11 fewer shots than us(because of our defense).

Rodney Crain 6 months ago

Impresssive win. 90 seconds into the game, we just took off. Rare to see a Coach use 3 of their 4 timeouts in the first half trying to slow us down. Drew tried eveything too, nothing worked.

We brought the ball up so quick it looked like the Globetrotters out there. That circus save behind Wilson's back play to OA for a 3 was nuts. It was a prayer that was answered pass.

Defense was top level. We were moving, talking, working hard. Outside in, they just had no where to go with the ball. Hands up all the time, blocking out for rebounds, it was great. Inbound plays were spot on.

We have 3 tough games left and a 2 game lead. Texas Home and away, Baylor away.

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Lee, I think there’s a difference between critiquing a performance and the complaining that Len references.

Critiquing is like saying it is cold outside so I should wear a hat and warm jacket, while complaining is like saying it’s so cold outside it’s never going to warm up. Someone must be sabotaging the weather. We’re all going to die! Aaaaargh!!!

Chad Smith 6 months ago

Juan better get used to 30+ minutes a game for the foreseeable future. with Martin still injured and the fact that even when he does come back, he's not half the defender Juan is. I've heard in some recent broadcasts juan get compared to Russell Robinson, and thought it was crazy. but honestly this kid is really elevating his game. he is like russrob, he knows spacing, leverage and angles and how to be active with his hands. he is quickly becoming a leader on this team. if he can keep improving his 3 point shot and confidence to take them he could end being another great KU guard.

Andy Godwin 6 months ago

I wish it was "Baylor's soft" but that was not the chant by the student sections. Shortly after the chant began one of the Baylor players drains a three and thankfully quieted the students. KU fans should not have to disrespect their appoints, like at some want-a-be basketball schools, for example KSU. KU is supposed to win at home. Calling them “overrated” is a bit of a shot at the strong performance by KU's defense and will be a motivation when KU heads to Waco for their rematch. The first half might have been the best team defense from KU all season, led by a favorite, Dajaun Harris and some aggressive rebounding by Jalen Wilson and Christian Braun. Harris did not shoot the ball great, but his defense was stellar, including 3 recorded steals and he just knows how to run a team: 7 assists. As Self indicate, “Juan is a winner.” It also was one of Braun’s better all-around games, minus the 4 turnovers. Strong defense and good transition on offense made it a fun game. No anxiety for this old man. Some fans like close last second affairs, I like KU blowouts against ranked teams. Rock Chalk.

Blake Brown 6 months ago

I've never got the "overrated" chant. Basically, it says that we just beat a team that was not all that good, so it's really not all that great of a win which is putting our own team down.

David Robinett 6 months ago

They seem to have found the winning formula: strong D, gang rebounding, and attack on transition.

I know, duh.

Blake Brown 6 months ago

How refreshing it was to just sit and watch one of our games and not get all jacked up and screaming at a play or a misplay or a ref or..... Yes, it's great to win those close games, but I'll take a blow out every once in a while to just settle in and watch some good ballin. Way to go Jayhawks!

Mallory Briggans 6 months ago

The "overrated " chant had more to do with how Baylor was ranked and based on what they accomplished last year. You cant take Baylors record lightly after all they are not a 500. team and they are defending National Champs . Alls fair with the chants because we have been on the receiving end on the road when we got beat by a lesser team. But again we are only as good as our last game , if we lay an egg against Texas then we are not quite world beaters We werent as bad as we showed against Kentucky and we aren't ready to cut down the nets in April. Kentucky blew us out at AFH but Kentuckys next game they struggled with a 10 loss Vanderbilt team winning by only 7 points on their own court ...so does that make Vanderbilt better than KU ...........no it doesnt ....so you never know until the games is played what the teams performance will be . but great win non the less

Thomas Harrison 6 months ago

Was Jo hurt in 2nd half? Need him for Texas!!!

Mallory Briggans 6 months ago

Another point i would like to make. We all know overall health is important for this team to make a title run in both the BIG12 and when the national tournament begins , but also the mental health of the reserves is also important .I make the point because if you are a reserve you dont know what your playing time will be from one game to the next . JCL got 5 minutes against Kentucky after being chewed out by Self in the 1st half but started against Iowa State because Ochai was out. Yesufu rarely played got 20+minutes against Iowa State and i noticed his body language wasnt good because he wasnt playing before that game Pettiford was ahead of Yesufu in the rotation but now behind him. Adams got a start this year and got minutes in close games against Tech and Iowa State when Self typically doesnt play freshmen got 4 and 5 minutes in his last 2 games in other words our last 2 games we won comfortably and Adams doesnt get minutes .Remy wasnt on the floor during the overtimes game against Tech.I know as a reserve you have to be ready when your name is called ,but often times with Self you never know..And what ever happened to Zach i know he hurt his foot but unless recovers it will be a wasted season ...can someone fill me in on his status.

Bj Cassady 6 months ago

The loss or rather beat down against UK probably did help us. It showed us we have to always, ALWAYS be ready. You need to play hard, physical be in the game. UK was ready we were not. Hopefully we learned and grew up as a team we sure played as a team. Now go to Austin and grill some Longhorns.

Dirk Medema 6 months ago

Mallory - I believe Coach Self gave an update a week ago. Zach has a broken bone so 4-6 weeks and still on that timeline.

Mallory Briggans 6 months ago

Thanks Dirk i guess that got by me .I like that kid and i think he will be a pretty good ball player for the Jayhawks

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