No. 2 Kansas Grinds Out 66-60 Road Win at No. 19 Baylor
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WACO, Texas – No. 2 Kansas won its fourth consecutive road game with a grind-it-out 66-60 victory over No. 19 Baylor on Tuesday night at Ferrell Center.
The Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12), now just one win away from its 12th straight Big 12 regular-season title, exchanged 17 lead changes with Baylor (20-8, 9-6) before taking control of the game with an 10-2 run.
Junior guard Frank Mason III led Kansas with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting in 37 minutes while the Jayhawks collectively shot 50 percent from the field – the sixth time in the last seven games KU has shot 50 percent or better.
Junior forward Landen Lucas carried Kansas in the paint with a team-high 10 rebounds during a night that Baylor held a 33 to 28 edge on the glass. Wayne Selden Jr., was quiet for most of the night, finishing with six points, but came up big in the critical closing minutes – pulling down a pair of offensive rebounds and scoring four points in the final two-and-a-half minutes – to help secure the win.
Guard Al Freeman made four of Baylor’s eight 3-pointers, finishing with a team-high 17 points, and Lester Medford dished out eight assists for the Bears.
Kansas grabbed five offensive rebounds on its first possession before Perry Ellis made a turnaround hook shot in the lane to put KU on the scoreboard first. The Jayhawks worked their way to an 8-4 lead as Selden connected with Lucas for a backdoor lob that beat the shot-clock buzzer and Mason drained a 3-pointer – the first of his two treys in the half.
But the rebounding trend began to favor the Bears for the remainder of the first half. After KU grabbed the first seven rebounds of the game, Baylor closed the half with an 18-to-4 edge on the glass as the Bears clawed back to take a 10-8 lead.
Greene made a 3-pointer off the bench and Ellis knocked down another hook shot in the lane to regain control, 15-10. Mason was a consistent scorer for the Jayhawks all night the floater in the lane, 17-12. … 3-pointer 20-15.
But Baylor kept pace with the ‘Hawks by making a pair of 3-pointers from Freeman and Medford to take a 21-20 lead.
Sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk gave Kansas quality minutes in the first half, entering the game for the first time with nearly under eight minutes remaining before halftime. On his first possession Mykhailiuk passed to Ellis from the top of the key for an easy layup to tie the game at 22. On the next possession, Mykhailiuk penetrated the lane and kicked it out to Ellis, who quickly passed to Graham for a 3-pointer, 25-24.
Mykhailiuk later made a three to give Kansas a 33-31 lead, but behind the efforts of senior Rico Gathers Baylor went into halftime with a deficit for the first time since Jan. 23 against Texas. Gathers caught a full-court pass with 1.9 second left in the half and made his first 3-point attempt of the season at the buzzer, giving Baylor a 36-33 halftime advantage.
Selden did not score in the first half, but did not waste any time to get on the board in the second – dunking the ball on KU’s first second-half possession.
Baylor kept the pressure on and took a 45-37 lead with a 7-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer Ishmail Wainright.
With Kansas down eight and 13:22 remaining, Graham made his second 3-pointer of the day to spark a Kansas comeback. Mason added a jumper to cut the Jayhawks’ deficit to 47-44.
Traylor, whose 13 points carried KU to victory in Waco last season, a finished with an easy layup beneath the rim after plenty of offensive ball movement bringing KU within one, 47-46. Taylor made a jumper on the next possession to give Kansas the lead, 48-47.
Lucas had the tiebreaking layup with 3:03 left after one of his four rebounds down the stretch. Selden had four of those in the final 2 minutes, along with two offensive rebounds in that span that led to points.
The go-ahead putback by Lucas came after he rebounded a missed 3-pointer from Selden.
After Selden rebounded a missed tip-in by Lucas with 1:40 left, Kansas called time out. Kansas put an exclamation point on its lead as Graham on connected with Selden for an alley-oop out of a timeout to put Kansas up, 60-57.
Frank Mason III had 19 points and Perry Ellis added 15 for Kansas, which has a two-game lead over No. 14 West Virginia in the Big 12 standings with three league games remaining. Graham had 11 points and Lucas had 10 rebounds to go with his five points.
Baylor’s Freeman made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, but Graham iced the game at the free throw line – making two attempts as the Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant bounced throughout the Ferrell Center among the Jayhawk fans that made the trip to Texas.
Kansas will have an opportunity to clinch at least a share of its 12th consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season title against Texas Tech on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Central on ESPN.
KU STARTERS (SEASON/CAREER STARTS):
Jr. G Frank Mason III (28/67)
So. G Devonte’ Graham (27/27)
Jr. G Wayne Selden Jr. (28/99)
Sr. F Perry Ellis (29/99)
Jr. F Landen Lucas (10/24)
• Kansas now leads the series with Baylor, 26-4, including an 11-2 mark in Waco and a 22-2 mark during Big 12 regular-season play.
• Kansas has won the last seven games against Baylor.
• Bill Self is 18-4 against Baylor, while Baylor head coach Scott Drew is 3-18 against Kansas.
ATTENDANCE: 8,259 (Ferrell Center)
• Made Kansas 24-4 overall and 12-3 in Big 12 play.
• Extended KU’s winning streak to eight games.
• Gave Kansas 12 conference wins for the 22nd-straight season, which began during the 1994-95 season in the Big Eight era.
• Made KU 2,177-835 all-time.
• Gave 24 wins for the 11th consecutive season.
• Gave 12 conference wins for the 16th consecutive season.
• Kansas now stands one win away from clinching its 12th-straight Big 12 regular-season title. Three regular-season conference games remain on KU’s schedule (Texas Tech, Feb. 27; at Texas, Feb. 29; Iowa State, March 5).
• Kansas shot 50 percent from the field (23-46 FG) on Tuesday night. Kansas has shot 50 percent or better from the field in six of the last seven games.
• The Jayhawks were outrebounded by Baylor 33 to 28. It marks just the seventh game KU has been outrebounded (4-3 record).
• Kansas and Baylor swapped leads 17 times, setting a season high for a Big 12 game involving Kansas. The only other game with more lead changes was 18 in an overtime victory over Kentucky (Jan. 30). 10 of those lead changes occurred in the first half.
• Kansas earned its sixth win over a top-25 opponent (6-3 record).
• Kansas has won four consecutive road games and now holds a 5-3 road record during Big 12 play. The four-game road winning streak includes two wins over ranked opponents (No. 3/3 Oklahoma, Feb. 13; No. 19/16 Baylor, Feb. 23).
• Kansas mathematically clinched a bye in the upcoming Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. The Jayhawks will begin the tournament in the quarterfinal round on Thursday, March 10 at Sprint Center.
Junior G Frank Mason III
• Scored a team-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting
Junior F Landen Lucas
• Led Kansas in rebounds for the ninth time in the last 11 games with 10 rebounds (five offensive).
• Added five points with two steals and a block in 29 minutes of action.
• Started for the 10th consecutive game – has ended as KU’s leading rebounder in eight of those contests.
Junior G Wayne Selden Jr.
• Scored six points with six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes.
• Now has 1,066 career points, passing Otto Schnellbacher (1943-48, 1,062) and Rex Walters (1992-93, 1,064) for 43rd on KU’s career scoring list.
Senior F Perry Ellis
• Scored 15 points (4-8 FG) with three assists and two blocks in 36 minutes. Scored 11 points in the first half.
• Went 6 for 6 at the free throw line, marking the fourth game this season Ellis has not missed a free throw attempt (min. six attempts).
Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham
• Dished out a team-high seven assists in 38 minutes, coming one assist shy of his career high of eight which occurred during the season opener against Northern Colorado (Nov. 13).
• Made two free throws with one second remaining to finish with 11 points and reached double-figure points for the 17th time this season.
On Landen Lucas and Wayne Selden Jr.:
“I wasn’t very pleased with our personnel the first 30 minutes of the game those two (Wayne Selden and Landen (Lucas) really struggled. I got to them hard at halftime, probably too hard, but they really struggled the first half. Wayne did a great job on (Taurean) Prince. Those offensive rebounds were special. The drive and the scoop shot and the lob catch were great. He did a lot of great things. Then Landen, with two seconds left on the shot clock and he fans it just wide open. There’s just a lot of things we didn’t do very smart, but he guarded (Johnathon) Motley great down the stretch. Then to play the last nine minutes without a foul and to control the glass for at least an eight-minute stretch when we haven’t controlled it all the whole game was huge for us.”
On Frank Mason III:
“We can make a case where Wayne (Selden) has been our best player and certainly when Perry (Ellis) has been our best player, but there is no one more valuable than Frank (Mason). He does some things that are just tough. He makes tough plays. Even though we didn’t have good offense, it seems like to me he made a couple of big threes, and he got inside the defense and drove it hard. I thought he and Devonte’ (Graham) were pretty good.”
On the rebounding battle:
“Statistically, we held them to 36 percent, which was great, but they miss 39 shots and get 20 back. On the flip side we missed 23 and get 12 back so at least we did compete down the stretch on the glass. That was a huge key because early on. We started out six to nothing on the glass, and then it was like 26 to 15. That means they went on a 26 to nine run on the glass. That’s a difference of 17 and for us to cut it to five late that means we really rebounded the ball the last 12 minutes or so.”
Junior G Wayne Selden Jr.
On playing through early struggles:
“I was struggling all night and I just was trying to find a way to impact the game, and it was rebounding. That was big. Me and Landen (Lucas) knew we had to get to the glass, so I just tried to crash the boards and get extra possessions.”
Junior F Landen Lucas
On playing through early struggles:
“It was tough. Coach was challenging us, Wayne (Selden) and I the whole time. The good thing is, even if the offense isn’t coming for either one of us the one thing we can do is create extra possessions and play well defensively. I think we did that towards the end of the game and gave our team a chance to win.”
On the rebounding battle:
“They were killing us on the boards, and that’s on me. I wasn’t engaged like I should have been. Towards the end of the game I was trying to go after every rebound. I think it kind of flipped to where we were getting more offensive rebounds towards the end of the game, which really helped us come back and win the game.”
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