Baylor, needing a bullet-point win for its NCAA Tournament resume, posted one as the Bears muscled their way to an 80-64 victory over No. 10 Kansas on Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.
Baylor led for the final 26 minutes and didn’t flinch when Kansas made a charge to get within a basket in the second half.
Forward Jo Lual-Acuil scored 19 points to lead Baylor (15-10, 5-7 Big 12). Guard Manu Lecomte added 18, including 13 in the second half, and forward Nuni Omot finished with 17.
Guard Devonte’ Graham posted 23 to lead Kansas (19-6, 8-4) and guard Malik Newman added 14.
Kansas trailed by as many as 13 points early in the second half, but chipped away and then went on a 9-2 run to cut the margin to two. Forward Udoka Azubuike threw down a dunk to slice Baylor’s lead to 51-49 with 9:27 left.
But the Jayhawks could never pull even.
Lecomte hit a pair of deep 3-pointers to fuel an 8-0 run as Baylor re-established a 10-point lead with 4:23 left.
Baylor held Kansas scoreless for the final 3:31 of the first half, paving the way for a 7-0 run to take a 30-20 lead to the break.
The Bears took advantage after Azubuike picked up his second foul with 5:00 on the first-half clock and sat until the break. With Azubuike on the bench, Lual-Acuil scored Baylor’s final four points of the half.
Lual-Acuil led Baylor with 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
Baylor’s zone defense flustered Kansas in the first half, holding the Jayhawks to 27-percent shooting from the field, including just 2 of 13 from 3-point range.
Graham paced Kansas with nine points before the break. He was the only Jayhawk to make more than one field goal in the first 20 minutes.
Kansas stays on the road to face Iowa State on Tuesday. Baylor hits the road to play at Texas on Monday.
— Field Level Media