For the first time ever the Baylor Bears beat the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence this weekend, handing KU its first Big 12 loss of the season 67-55.
The loss snaps a 28-game home winning streak dating back to the 2017-18 season, and a 26-game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse.
Things turned chaotic for the Jayhawks late in the first half. The Bears took the lead with 4:48 to go in the opening period and remained in control from there out. Baylor is one of the nation’s best defensive teams (ranked fifth by KenPom entering the weekend) and they caused constant mistakes by Kansas.
KU turned the ball over 10 times in the first half.
“The last two minutes, or whatever, of the first half was a debacle,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “That made the climb a lot harder.”
KU is also a strong defensive team (No. 2 in KenPom) but wasn’t able to stop the Baylor’s offensive attack like it has most of its opponents this season. Baylor shot 45% for the game and 48.3% in the first half.
The Bears snapped a streak of five games in a row in which the Jayhawks had held their opponents to 57 points or less.
“So much of our stuff is predicated on forcing help, and we didn’t ever force help today,” Self said. “Our ball and body movement was awful … There was just no rhythm or whatever offensively at all.”
The other major storyline from the game for KU, outside the convincing loss, is the health of sophomore guard Devon Dotson. He suffered a hip pointer in the first half which forced him out of the game. He played one possession in the second half before going to the locker room, but did return later in the game.
Self said Dotson is dealing with a hip pointer and will be monitored over the next several days.
Kansas played well in the early going on Saurday, shooting decently and holding up on the defensive end, giving the Jayhawks an early 20-15 lead. Senior guard Isaiah Moss buoyed the Jayhawks’ offensive effort in the first half, making 4-of-5 field goals to start the game.
He finished with a team-high 15 points, although his production noticeably tapered off in the second 20 minutes.
“I thought he was aggressive in the first half,” Self said about Moss. “I thought he did some good things, but certainly I didn’t think he was consistently good in the second half.”
After that fast KU start, though, Baylor was able to take control thanks to its lauded guard play. Specifically, it was sophomore guard Jared Butler who gave the Jayhawks fits on Saturday afternoon. He put up a game-high 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including three made three pointers.
“We won’t guard anybody this year who’s harder to guard than [Butler],” Self said.
Butler was the star on the court, but the person who the game may have meant the most to was his coach, Scott Drew. This was just the fifth time Baylor has beaten KU under Drew.
Self and Kansas, meanwhile, have won 24 head-to-head meetings against Baylor.
“We gave him a lot of love when he got in the locker room,” Butler said. “It’s tough to win here, the place is amazing … He’s a great, phenomenal coach. He prepared us well.”
Drew downplayed the impact of the win, though, and also downplayed the potential Baylor has to be the new No. 1 team in the country when the AP top 25-poll is released on Monday.
“It matters to our fans,” Drew said. “Right now it would be a great accomplishment and honor, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
The Jayawks don’t have much time to consider this loss, as they’ll be back in action on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma Sooners on the road.