No. 5 Kansas will attempt to continue its dominance over No. 9 Baylor inside Allen Fieldhouse, where the Jayhawks have beaten the Bears in 18 of their past 19 games, on Saturday in Lawrence, Kan.
Kansas (21-5, 9-4 Big 12) is coming off an 87-76 victory at Oklahoma State on Tuesday for its fifth win in its past six games since a 75-69 loss at Baylor on Jan. 23. The Bears (20-6, 9-4) are the league’s hottest team, having won 10 of their past 11 games following a 79-67 win over visiting West Virginia on Monday.
The Jayhawks and Bears are tied atop the Big 12 standings with No. 6 Texas, which hosts last-place Oklahoma on Saturday.
“From starting out 0-3 (in league play) and now tied for first place, the real fun begins,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “There’s a lot of basketball left to be played.”
Kansas used a 15-5 run early in the second half to take a 58-47 advantage with 15:04 remaining and didn’t lead the Cowboys by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.
Freshman Gradey Dick scored 17 of his season-high 26 points in the second half, when the Jayhawks shot a blistering 19 of 29 (65.5 percent) from the field, including 5 of 11 (45.5 percent) from 3-point range. Kansas shot 53.8 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc for the game.
Kevin McCullar, who averages 10.8 points per game, added 15 points and eight assists, while KJ Adams Jr., who averages 10.5 points per game, also finished with 15 points. Jalen Wilson, who averages a team-high 20.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, was held to 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting and hauled in four rebounds. Dick is second on the team with 14.7 points per game.
“We have to play that way. We don’t have guys that are great one-on-one players and so we need to have ball and body movement,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “When the ball moves like that, I do think we have enough scorers out there, we’re pretty hard to guard.
“I thought, tonight, we played offensively about as well as we’ve executed over a period of time, especially out of our building. I think we showed some toughness, some grit and playing out of foul trouble.”
Baylor also pulled away in the second half in its last game. After leading by seven at halftime, the Bears’ advantage ballooned to as many as 19 against the Mountaineers.
LJ Cryer, who averages 14.9 points per game, scored 26 by hitting a career-high eight 3-pointers on just 11 attempts.
“(The ball) felt great coming out of my hands, I got a lot of good looks, so credit to my teammates,” Cryer said. “Anytime I get those looks I feel like I’m going to knock them down.”
Adam Flagler, who averages 15.8, added 13 points and six assists. Jalen Bridges added 12 points, with Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua finishing with 11.
Keyonte George, who averages a team-high 16.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, scored six points but added game highs of nine rebounds and seven assists.
–Field Level Media