Sophomore guard Malik Newman scored three straight field goals as part of a decisive 7-0 run and tallied a game-high 24 points Saturday as No. 10 Kansas edged Baylor 70-67 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
The Bears rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to lead 67-61 before Newman erupted with a three-point play and two other baskets, all off drives to the hoop.
Baylor (12-7, 2-5 Big 12) missed its last five shot attempts and fell to 0-16 all time in games played against Kansas (16-3, 6-1), which maintained a one-game lead in the conference over West Virginia.
The Jayhawks capped a 9-0 run to end the game after senior guard Devonte’ Graham drew another foul after rebounding a Baylor miss with 3.4 seconds left. Graham, who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, made both free throws for the final margin.
The Bears did not get off a shot attempt in the closing seconds. They were led by senior center Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., who recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Nuni Omot also scored 14 points.
From the 7:34 mark in the first half to the 5:22 mark of the second, the Jayhawks did not get a field goal from anyone other than sophomore center Udoka Azubuike, who scored his team’s first 11 points of the second half. Azubuike finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Newman also led Kansas on the glass with eight boards.
The Jayhawks have used an average margin of four points to record their six conference victories.
Kansas jumped to a 13-point lead at the first media timeout, while Baylor did not grab a rebound until more than five minutes had elapsed.
The Bears managed to make a few slight runs but trailed 38-27 at halftime after shooting 30 percent. Newman’s 12 points led the Jayhawks’ first-half charge.
Earlier on Saturday, Kansas announced that freshman forward Billy Preston would discontinue his bid to gain eligibility to play professionally for a team based in Bosnia. Preston had not played yet for the Jayhawks after compliance officials began taking a look into the financing of a vehicle he drove.
“Although he has been frustrated with the situation,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, “Billy’s attitude has been tremendous and he has developed as a person and as a player. I’m sure that will continue as he prepares for his professional career.”
—Field Level Media