Kansas guard Dajuan Harris couldn’t help but jump to the floor.
The younger guard zoomed up and threw a pass to Gradey Dick, who then slammed home the alley-oop. Fans inside Allen Fieldhouse screamed. This was the KU team fans had been preparing to see Allen Fieldhouse.
Not only did Harris’ alley-oop bring Kansas within five points after the Jayhawks trailed by 17 early in the game, it showed a complete reversal of the aggression of Harris and the rest of his teammates. team in the second half.
After appearing lethargic at first, the No. 1 men’s basketball team. 5 Kansas came back and beat #5 Baylor 87-71 on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. The win keeps the Jayhawks tied for first place in the Big 12, with Texas also winning on Saturday.
Jalen Wilson scored 21 points and Gradey Dick added 16 for the Jayhawks, who shared the season series with Baylor. In January, the Bears defeated KU 75-69 at the Ferrell Center.
Kansas (22-5, 10-4 Big 12) has won four consecutive conference games.
Adam Flagler had 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting for the Bears (20-6, 9-5 Big 12), who had their five-game hitting streak snapped by KU. BU lost a game to first in the conference race.
Let’s just say Kansas fans can avoid halftime replays. The Jayhawks were batted, shut out, and batted flat by the Bears, who led 45–32 at the half.
Kansas went on a 10-0 run early in the second half, cutting Baylor’s lead to three points (45-42).
Dick hit a three with 14:28 left, giving Kansas its first lead (50-49) since hitting a layup to start the game. After taking the lead, KU went on a 16-5 run to go up 12 points and take control of the game.
The Bears never got very close.
Kansas will travel to Fort Worth to face TCU on Monday at Schollmaier Arena. Until then, here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game…
The Baylor guards make KU adjust early
Earlier in the week, Kansas head coach Bill Self named the trio of Baylor guards (LJ Cryer, Flagler and Keyonte George) the best offensive trio in the nation.
The trio showed why on Saturday afternoon.
BU’s Jalen Bridges hit a three with 40 seconds left in the first half…and became the first Baylor player other than the three guards to score.
The Bears’ big three combined for 42 of BU’s 45 first half points. They shot a combined 8-of-13 (61.5%) from beyond the arc. By comparison, KU shot 1-of-11 (9.1%) from three-point range over the half.
George led the way with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, while Flagler added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Ultimately, Cryer had 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting… all in the first half.
It seemed that whatever Kansas did defensively, the trio could not miss, including hitting multiple tough shots from beyond the arc. They finished with 57 combined points and nine made threes.
After a quiet half, Dajuan Harris delivers
Harris’ aggressiveness is a good barometer of how Kansas is doing.
Whenever he’s offensive-minded on offense, KU is usually winning. When he’s quiet, Kansas is usually losing.
Harris had zero points and shot just once in the first half, and of course, KU found themselves down by 13 at the break.
Harris ramped up his activity level in the second half and played an integral role in KU’s 18-4 second half run that gave the Jayhawks their first lead since 2-0.
Harris finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting while dishing out nine assists. He also had two critical steals in 37 minutes.
Kansas defense stiffens in the second half
The Jayhawks struggled defending Baylor in the first half. The Bears shot 16-of-31 (51.6%) from the floor, including 9-of-14 (64.3%) from beyond the arc.
That wasn’t the case in the second half.
Baylor shot 10-of-28 (35.7%) including 1-of-11 (9.1%) from the floor from three-point range.
Kansas did a great job of contesting shots, getting BU shooters off the arc and not giving many easy looks. It’s part of how they turned a 17-point deficit into a 16-point win.