LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)DaJuan Harris scored all 14 of his points in the second half as No. 5 Kansas stormed back from a double-digit halftime deficit and beat No. 9 Baylor 87-71 Saturday.
The Jayhawks (22-5, 10-4 Big 12) outscored the Bears 55-26 in the second half.
”That’s Harris and (Kevin) McCullar,” Kansas coach Bill Self said when asked to describe the turnaround in the second half. ”The good looks (Baylor) got in the second half, they didn’t make them. In the first half, even when they got hard looks, they made them.
”Harris can make shots. He just doesn’t take a lot of them.”
Jalen Wilson led Kansas with 21 points and 13 rebounds. KJ Adams added 17 points and Gradey Dick had 16.
”We just had to gain composure,” Wilson said of the second-half surge. ”It’s a long game, and we’re never going to quit.”
The Jayhawks are tied with Texas for the top spot in the Big 12 Conference. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma 85-83 in overtime earlier Saturday.
”You can now start talking about the conference race,” Self said. ”There’s only four games left and we’re in a good position.”
Baylor is in sole possession of third place, a game behind Kansas and Texas and a game ahead of Kansas State and Iowa State.
”That’s a good game for the Big 12,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. ”You saw what we were capable of in the first half and what Kansas is capable of in the second half.”
Baylor (20-7, 9-5) got nearly all of its scoring from its three-guard combo of Adam Flagler (22 points) Keyonte George (20 points) and LJ Cryer (15 points). The rest of the team combined to score just 14 points.
Baylor shot 9 of 14 from 3-point range in the first half and and 10 for 25 overall. Conversely, Kansas, which hit only 1 of 11 from beyond the arc in the first half finished 6 for 21 from long distance.
The Jayhawks scored the last three points of the first half and the first 10 of the second half to trim a 15-point deficit to 45-42 with less than 2:30 gone in the second half.
”As good as we were in the first half, that’s how bad we were in the second half,” Drew said. ”They just killed us in transition.”
When Dick hit a 3-pointer at the 14:29 mark, Kansas had stormed all the way back and led 50-49. The Jayhawks never trailed again and extended the lead to double digits (65-54) at the 10:20 mark of the second half.
”You’re not going to change (the momentum) by making shots,” Wilson said. ”It’s going to start by making stops. We needed to be aggressive.”
The Bears led 20-14 at the second media timeout with Cryer (11 points) and Flagler (9) combining for all 20 Baylor points. Baylor used an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 33-21 with 5:07 left. George joined in the scoring, and when he hit a 3-pointer with 3:54, followed by another with 3:32 left, the Bears led 39-23 with all the points coming from the three guards.
Baylor led 45-32 at halftime after hitting nine 3-pointers. George led the Bears with 15 first-half points. Flagler had 14 and Cryer had 13. Jalen Bridges had the only other three points of the half.
Baylor also held a 21-13 advantage on the boards in the first half.
Baylor: The Bears need to find other scoring besides their three guards. When they went cold in the second half, the Bears had no answer.
Kansas: The Jayhawks are tough to beat in Allen Fieldhouse. With the quick start to the second half, the crowd got behind the Jayhawks, who rallied.
Baylor: The Bears travel to No. 12 Kansas State on Tuesday night.
Kansas: The Jayhawks travel to Fort Worth, Texas, for a Big Monday matchup with No. 22 TCU.
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