No. 2 Kansas outlasts No. 19 Baylor

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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Kansas didn’t play its best game of the season, but some key offensive rebounds helped them outlast No. 19 Baylor 66-60 on Tuesday afternoon. The No. 2 Jayhawks were able to win on the road in the Big 12 thanks to a key putback by Landen Lucas late, while Wayne Selden came up with important plays in crunch time with a clutch offensive rebound (which led to a Frank Mason free throw) and later catching a lob and finishing another bucket in the final minute.

Lucas (five points, 10 rebounds) and Selden (six points, six rebounds) both had off nights at the start but made key plays late to help Kansas win and that’s a great sign of this team’s focus and maturity at this point in the season. The Jayhawks don’t have a star player or go-to guy, but they do have a balanced team that is better than most when everyone is at least adequate. In a one-possession game with 5 minutes left, the Kansas starting five finally came together and they all made plays. It wasn’t their best game, it was good enough to keep their two-game lead in the Big 12 regular season with a road win at a top-20 team.

Mason led the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3) with 19 points while Ellis had 15 points. Devonte’ Graham had 11 points and seven assists. Kansas needs a home win against Texas Tech on Saturday to clinch at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title.

Baylor led by eight points midway in the second half but Kansas finished on a 13-5 run to close out the game.

The Bears (20-8, 9-6) folded down the stretch and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense, which was a huge part of their demise. The Baylor offense had a six-minute stretch in the last 10 minutes of the game where they only had one field goal until Taurean Waller-Prince (12 points) made a basket with around 3 minutes left. Al Freeman paced Baylor with 17 points.

While the Bears played good enough defense to contain the Kansas offense for much of this stretch, their defense let up multiple offensive rebounds where the Jayhawks just went and made plays on the glass. This was a chance for the Bears to beat a potential No. 1 seed at home and they blew a chance to make their profile look great. The Bears still have games against Oklahoma (on the road) and West Virginia but they should have closed this one out against Kansas.