After losses, No. 9 Kansas looking for fresh start vs. No. 17 Baylor
No. 9 Kansas took a slide down the rankings before trying to stop a two-game skid against No. 17 Baylor in Big 12 play on Monday night at Waco, Texas.
Kansas was ranked No. 2 when it dropped an 83-82 overtime decision to host Kansas State on Tuesday and before being walloped 83-60 at home by then-No. 14 TCU on Saturday.
The 23-point whipping marked the end of a 16-game home winning streak for the Jayhawks (16-3, 5-2 Big 12), who found themselves down 37-15 just 11 minutes into the one-sided contest.
“We didn’t guard well, but I thought we didn’t score and the good looks we had, missed,” Kansas coach Bill Self said afterward. “I thought it got a little bit like we were playing like we had a 10-point play in our back pocket as opposed to just trying to win that possession. That happens a lot when you get behind like that.”
Baylor (14-5, 4-3) will be looking for its fifth straight win after starting 0-3 in Big 12 play.
The Bears trailed for nearly half the game in Saturday’s 62-60 road win against Oklahoma. Jalen Bridges drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining and Adam Flagler added one 63 seconds later as Baylor prevailed.
Bridges scored just 11 points but knocked down three treys in a span of 3:23 to fuel the Bears’ late-game push.
“Just credit my teammates for finding me when I’m open,” Bridges said. “I had three really good looks. The coaching staff trusted me on that last one.”
Bridges, a transfer from West Virginia, has scored in double digits in five straight games after failing to reach the mark in nine of the previous 11 contests.
“Jalen deserves all the credit,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said of Bridges’ improvement. “He’s really been working hard, he’s been putting in extra time. He’s a great model for young kids. He started this year really struggling.
“There are two things you can do. You can complain and pout about it, or you can work on it. And he’s really worked on it. His hard work has paid off.”
Flagler scored a team-high 16 points, equaling his season average. Leading scorer Keyonte George (17.4) had just 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Sooners.
Baylor is just 8-35 all-time against the Jayhawks but has split the past six meetings.
Self sees the latest matchup as a major challenge as there isn’t much time to dissect what all needs fixing after the loss to the Horned Frogs.
“We could show them 150 clips in this game, but there’s no reason to do that,” Self said. “And guys, this league is so good, there’s no reason to come at them in a way that that loses what’s most important. The most important thing is trying to get your bodies back fresh, and let’s be ready to go on Monday. …
“We’ve been doing this a while and our team has been around knowing that fresh minds and fresh bodies are probably more important right now than a lot of different things.”
Kansas star Jalen Wilson scored 30 points against TCU to follow up a career-high 38 against Kansas State. Wilson has team-best averages of 21.3 points and 8.8 rebounds.
Second-leading scorer Gradey Dick (14.4 points per game) had just eight points on 3-of-13 shooting against TCU.
–Field Level Media