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Monday, January 16, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Kansas 92, Baylor 74

By Jason King


LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Here are some quick thoughts from Kansas' 92-74 victory over previously unbeaten Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse.

Overview: Tyshawn Taylor scored 28 points and Thomas Robinson added 27 (and 14 rebounds) to spark Kansas to a 92-74 victory over third-ranked Baylor on Monday. The victory gives the Jayhawks sole possession of first place in the race for the Big 12 title. At 15-3 overall and 5-0 in league play, the Jayhawks are the league's only team without a conference loss. Kansas has now won 85 of its past 86 games at Allen Fieldhouse. Baylor, which got 18 points from Perry Jones III and 17 from Quincy Miller, dropped to 17-1 and 4-1. The Bears were outrebounded 39-24 and their starters were outscored 87-58 by KU's starters.

Turning point:  Trailing 29-26, Kansas closed the opening half on a 13-0 scoring run that gave the Jayhawks a 39-29 cushion at intermission. Taylor scored 11 points during the march, including a 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining. Baylor pulled within six, 43-37, on a 3-pointer by Brady Heslip early in the second half. But Kansas responded with a 16-5 scoring run that put the game out of reach midway through the second half.

Star of the game: Taylor, KU's fourth-year starter at point guard, turned in the best performance of his career on Monday. Two days after scoring a career-high 28 points in a win over Iowa State, Taylor was magnificent against one of the most talented team Kansas will face all season. Along with his 28 points, he had six assists and a steal. Taylor made 10 of his 14 field goal attempts for a KU team that shot 57 percent from the field.

What the win means for Kansas: The Jayhawks have won seven straight Big 12 titles. After Monday, there's no reason to believe they won't win No. 8. Baylor is bigger, stronger, faster and deeper than Kansas. The Bears entered the game with six victories against top 50 RPI teams, mostly on the road. But at times they looked incompetent against Kansas, especially on defense, when the Jayhawks whipped the ball around until they got an open look. Bill Self deserves to be in the national coach of the year conversation after Monday.

What the loss means to Baylor: Not too much. The Bears did what 84 of the previous 85 teams to visit Allen Fieldhouse have done: they lost. It may have been in more convincing fashion than most people expected, but things snow-balled on the Bears, who crumbled under pressure for the first time all season. Baylor looked good early, but when KU made its first run, the Bears began to panic. They took ill-advised shots early in the shot clock and tried to force things that simply weren't there. They gambled way too much on defense and Kansas made them pay each and every time. Baylor's talent wasn't enough in this one, but they still appear to be Kansas' top competition for the Big 12 title.

Up next: Baylor hosts fifth-ranked Missouri on Saturday in Waco. Kansas travels to Austin to play Texas.