Baylor maintained its recent winning streak by earning an 80-64 Big 12 home win over No. 10 Kansas on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears (15-10, 5-7) have now won three consecutive games as they earned their biggest win of the season in knocking off the Jayhawks. Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. paced Baylor with 19 points while Manu Lecomte had 18 points and Nuni Omot had 17 points.
The win for Baylor snaps an 11-game losing streak against Kansas as they have now built a little bit of momentum entering the home stretch of conference play. It’s unlikely that Baylor gets into the Field of 68 in March given its early-season losing streaks, but a few more wins could certainly make things more interesting in a few weeks.
Kansas (19-6, 8-4) struggled to find consistency on the offensive end in this one as they tinkered with some new lineups. Inserting Mitch Lightfoot and Marcus Garrett into the starting lineup didn’t do much to jumpstart the Jayhawks as they shot 6-for-31 from three-point range for the game. Devonte’ Graham paced Kansas with 23 points as he was the only consistent offensive threat for the Jayhawks on the afternoon. Malik Newman added 15 points for Kansas, as he came off the bench in this one.
The Jayhawks are still going to be the favorites to win the Big 12 — especially given Saturday’s chaos with West Virginia and Oklahoma both losing to conference bottom feeders — but this might be their toughest race in quite some time. The lack of depth, specifically interior depth, is a glaring concern for Kansas as they don’t have much help for Udoka Azubuike. They’re now behind Texas Tech in the loss column after Saturday’s loss (before the Red Raiders play).
The inconsistent offense on Saturday is a bit troubling since Kansas is trying to juggle some lineups to figure out a new rotation. Regardless of whether players like Newman and Lagerald Vick start or come off the bench, Kansas needs those guys to be consistent to alleviate some of the burden placed on Graham.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for Kansas these next few games either as this will be the stretch that determines their status in the Big 12. The Jayhawks travel to Iowa State — who just knocked off Oklahoma at home — and then have to face three consecutive ranked opponents in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Kansas needs to figure out its rotation quickly if they want to survive that four-game stretch and win the conference once again. Given its history, you have to give Bill Self and the Jayhawks the benefit of the doubt. But three losses in the last six games that includes falling to Baylor and Oklahoma State means that Kansas still has a lot of work to do.