No. 7 Kansas Hands No. 3 Baylor First Loss on Big Monday Matchup, 92-74

Jan. 16, 2012

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the second time this season, No. 7 Kansas knocked off a top-five team and saw senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor score a career-high 28 points – but for the first time this season, No. 3 Baylor was handed a loss as the Jayhawks ran away with the 92-74 victory at Allen Fieldhouse, Monday night.

In the first of four ESPN Big Monday games scheduled for the 2011-12 season, a sold out crowd watched Kansas (15-3, 5-0) put on a dominating show, breaking the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season thanks to a scorching 57.4 percent shooting clip.

In the early battle of the Big 12 leaders, Baylor (17-1, 4-1) became the first team in Big 12 history to bring an undefeated record to Allen Fieldhouse, riding a program-best 17-0 start. By night’s end the country’s three unbeaten teams would drop to two as Kansas sailed to a 20-point lead midway through the second half and never looked back.

All five starters recorded double-digit scoring efforts for the first time this season, but it was Taylor who set the tone. The senior reprised his role as the offensive catalyst after scoring a career-high 28 points two days ago in a comeback win against Iowa State . On Monday, Taylor again ignited for 28 points, including nine points during KU’s 13-0 run to end the first half. Shooting at an efficient 10-for-14 clip on the night, Taylor tied another career-high with his four three-pointers.

Junior forward Thomas Robinson backed that effort with 27 points and 14 rebounds, his 13th double-double of the year and his fourth in five Big 12 games. Fellow junior Jeff Withey put up his second-straight double-double performance with 10 points and 10 boards. Junior guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford netted 11 points apiece.

The Bears’ advantage in the turnover column (15-11) was wiped out by the Jayhawks’ 39-24 edge on the boards, in addition to Kansas surpassing the 50 percent shooting mark for the 10th time this season.

Following Johnson’s jumper to kickoff the game, Robinson quickly fired off eight-straight points to highlight an early 13-6 advantage. Meanwhile, Baylor, who entered the evening as the Big 12’s leader in three-point percentage, missed its first six attempts from the beyond the arc before sophomore guard Gary Franklin drained the Bears’ first trey of the night to cut the Kansas lead to three.

Sophomore forward Perry Jones III’s pull-up jumper in the lane handed Baylor its first lead of the game, 18-17, and set the tone for what would be an intense series of trading baskets. Robinson and Jones led the charge for their respective sides. Robinson passed the 10-point mark with seven minutes still remaining in the first half, while Jones hit double figures with the shallow jumper that put his team ahead, 29-26 under the four-minute mark of the opening frame.

Down by one with less than three minutes to play in the first half, a strong KU defensive stand gave the Jayhawk offense room to work. The ensuing possession resulted in a three from Taylor to swing the momentum – and the lead – back to Kansas .

The three-pointer only fueled Taylor’s fire as he chalked up a 6-0 run on his own before finding Releford with a bullet pass under the basket for the transition layup. Seconds later, Taylor drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key to end the half on a 13-0 Kansas run and hand Baylor its largest halftime deficit of the season, 39-29.

After holding the league’s leading three-point shooter scoreless in the first half, sophomore guard Brady Heslip hit one of two quick Baylor threes immediately out of the break. The Jayhawks halted the rally attempt, however, by shooting at a red-hot 70 percent to kick off the second half, knocking down seven of their first 10 shots. Senior guard Conner Teahan’s three-pointer and a bucket from Releford forced Baylor head coach Scott Drew to call the timeout as his Bears fell behind, 57-42, with 13:50 to play.

Back-to-back dunks from senior forward Quincy Acy cut the Kansas lead to 11 before Kansas head coach Bill Self wanted a timeout of his own.

The break worked. Out of the timeout, Taylor ‘s third three of the night capped the 9-0 run that shot Kansas out to a 71-52 lead. Minutes later, KU would stretch the lead to 20 – a deficit unprecedented for the previously undefeated Baylor squad.

KU’s leaders would finish it up from there as Taylor and Robinson combined for the Jayhawks’ last 11 points, negating a pair of late dunks from Acy, to hand Baylor its first loss of the season, 92-74.

No. 7 Kansas will continue conference play at Texas on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m., on CBS. The Jayhawks then return to home for a second-straight ESPN Big Monday appearance when they host Texas A&M on Jan. 23 at 8 p.m.