Cold shooting dooms Jayhawks at Baylor, 80-64
WACO, Texas – A 26.9 percent shooting clip in the first half was too much for No. 10/10 Kansas to overcome as the Baylor Bears upset the Jayhawks, 80-64, Saturday afternoon inside the Ferrell Center. KU connected on just six of its 31 3-point tries as the Bears snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Jayhawks. Senior guard Devonte’ Graham scored a game-high 23 points, but only one other teammate joined him in double-figures as Kansas was held to a season-low 64 points.
The loss dropped Kansas to 19-6 on the year and 8-4 in league play, while Baylor moved to 15-10 in its 2017-18 campaign with a 5-7 mark in the Big 12.
It was a cold shooting start for the Jayhawks, who were held to their second-lowest field goal percentage of the season, tallying just two field goals in the first eight minutes. KU hit just two of its first 13 tries from the field. Despite a lid being on the basket early, Kansas found itself in only in a four-point deficit by the midway point of the opening stanza, 15-11.
A Mitch Lightfoot dunk began a 9-4 Jayhawk run over a four-minute span that saw KU claim an 18-17 lead with Graham’s jumper at the 6:38 mark. However, Kansas would tally only one more field goal before halftime, all while the Bears took advantage.
The home team went on a 13-2 run over the final 6:23 of the first half to put Kansas in a double-digit hole as it headed to the locker room, 30-20. The Jayhawks shot just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) from the field in the opening 20 minutes and their 20 points were the fewest by a Jayhawk team in a half in five years.
The early minutes of the second frame didn’t appear as though a KU comeback would be in store. The Jayhawks missed their first four shots and the Baylor lead swelled to 13 points on two occasions in the first two minutes after the restart.
However, the KU shots started to drop. Malik Newman scored seven points during a 16-8 KU spurt that saw the Jayhawks cut the BU lead to five points, 43-28, with more than 13 minutes remaining in regulation. Over the ensuing three minutes, both squads traded buckets until a Graham drive and lay-up and back-to-back dunks from Udoka Azubuike cut the Baylor lead to two points at 51-49 with more than nine minutes to play.
The Bears had an answer down the stretch though, going 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line over the final nine minutes to again put some distance between themselves and the visitors. On the offensive end, KU’s shooting strokes again went cold. Kansas hit just three of its final 13 shots over the final seven minutes and the comeback bid was quickly halted.
Baylor ended the game on a 22-8 run to claim its first win over the Jayhawks inside the Ferrell Center in its last five tries, 80-64.
For the second-straight game, Graham led the Jayhawks in scoring with 23 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Newman joined Graham in double figures with 14 points and a team-high five assists.
The Jayhawks ended the game shooting under 40 percent (39.7) for just the second time this season and the fourth time in their last 51 outings dating back to last season. Baylor was on the other end of the spectrum, notching its best shooting clip of Big 12 play, hitting 56.6 percent (30-of-53) of its shots, which included an 8-of-15 mark from beyond the arc.
Kansas will travel to Iowa State on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. (CST) on ESPN2. Kansas holds an all-time series lead with ISU, 180-64, which includes an 83-78 win on Jan. 9 in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas will then host West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. As Kansas celebrates 120 years of basketball in 2017-18, KU will recognize the 10-year anniversary of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA National Championship and retire Cole Aldrich’s jersey during the West Virginia contest.
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