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No. 10 Baylor rallies from 13 points down to beat No. 5 Kansas 80-70

Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) passes the ball over Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Waco, Texas.

Waco, Texas — A combination of the versatility of Baylor’s big men and too many missed free throws at key times cost fifth-ranked Kansas on Saturday night in an 80-70 loss to No. 10 Baylor at the Ferrell Center.

BU freshman Jeremy Sochan scored 17 points in 31 minutes and senior center Flo Thamba added 18 points and nine rebounds as the Bears avenged a blowout loss in Lawrence three weeks ago in front of a record crowd of 10,268 rabid BU fans.

The Jayhawks (23-5 overall, 12-3 Big 12) expected the environment they walked into and lamented the fact that they could not make enough plays late to leave victorious.

“If you get beat like that, obviously you’re going to fight back and we knew that,” KU’s Christian Braun said of Baylor responding to the loss in Lawrence. “We knew they weren’t going to roll over.”

For a while, it looked like the Bears (24-5, 12-4) were headed toward doing exactly that.

The Jayhawks stormed out to a 12-2 lead and completely took the home crowd out of it. Baylor, meanwhile, made just one of its first eight shots and five of its first 21 in falling behind by 13 on three separate occasions throughout the first half.

Kansas never trailed in the first half, but the Bears closed the half on a 16-4 run and trailed by just a point at the break (32-31) after being down by as many as 13 points in the first half.

“It was a missed opportunity because we played so well early,” Kansas coach Bill Self said after Saturday’s loss.

Added KU’s Ochai Agbaji, who led all scorers with 27 points: ​​“They were the most aggressive team in that stretch.”

Baylor took its first lead on a dunk by Kendal Brown 43 seconds into the second half. From there, although the Jayhawks were able to stay close and make it a tight game all the way into the final few minutes, the Bears played from in front and dictated the way the rest of this one went.

Thanks largely to another monster night by Agbaji, Kansas continued to stay connected, tying the game at 51 and again at 63-all after Baylor had built small leads. But the Jayhawks missed several key free throws — including two front ends of one-and-one opportunities — and watched as the Bears, and their home crowd, willed themselves to bigger and bigger leads.

Most of it came on the strength of Baylor’s adjustment to go small, with Sochan and Brown at the 5.

The Bears wrestled back the momentum completely early in the second half, taking a three-point lead (35-32) after a pair of free throws by Akinjo that followed a technical foul called on Self.

After the game, Self joked that he did not think he deserved the technical. The official responded with, “Bill, you about accosted me at half court.”

Setting the record straight, Self said he deserved the technical and liked to see his team respond with a 7-0 run — all scored by Agbaji — to reclaim a four-point lead.

“I think when he got the tech you saw the refs respond to it a little bit,” Braun (17 points, 10 rebounds) said with a laugh after the loss. “We got a couple easy fouls after that. But it fired us up a little bit. We like seeing that out of him, that passion.”

From there, Sochan found his grove and the Baylor big men — including wing Kendall Brown — put the Kansas bigs in mismatches the rest of the night, forcing guys to sag and give up 3-pointers and overplay, which gave up driving lanes to the rim.

That strategy, along with KU’s struggles at the free throw line allowed Baylor to take a four-point lead (its largest to that point) with just under eight minutes to play.

This was different than the work Baylor big man Flo Thamba did in the early going, scoring 12 of Baylor’s first 20 points to keep the Bears in the game.

KU quickly closed the gap to one and had a chance to reclaim the lead, but Braun had the ball stripped on his way to the basket and that led to an easy finger roll by Brown on the other end that put BU back up by three at 61-58.

“They were pretty hard to guard when they went small,” Self said, noting also that James Akinjo and Adam Flagler’s ability to get into the paint off the dribble throughout the second half played just as big of a role in Baylor winning.

Added Agbaji of BU’s mid-game strategy shift: “We had to make adjustments on the fly. Credit to them for making that adjustment. It just made it harder for David (McCormack) to keep the ball in front of him and guard their stretch 5.”

Before the first meeting with the Bears, Self called Sochan a future pro. On Saturday, he played like it, showing off his ball-handling ability, balance, strength and power.

He finished 5-of-9 from the floor and made six of seven free throws, nearly all of them coming at crucial points as Baylor tried to build their second-half lead.

“Sochan hurt us quite a bit with his ability to drive the ball,” Self said. “That’s the best I’ve seen (him) play. I thought he was great. And then we gave Kendall a dare shot and he made it. That was a big play, too.”

That bucket, a 3-pointer from the wing by Brown, put Baylor up 59-55, which, at the time was the Bears’ largest lead of the game. The crowd responded as if it were a lead five times as large and Kansas never quite recovered.

Despite the loss, which came on a night when Kansas could’ve clinched at least a share of the Big 12 title with Texas Tech losing to TCU earlier in the day, Self and the Jayhawks said they would leave Waco with their heads up.

“Definitely a lost opportunity,” Agbaji said.

Added Self: “We played a really good team tonight and got beat. You look at the final score and it made it feel like a 10-point game, but that wasn’t a 10-point game. We shouldn’t dwell on this, leaving this building. We’ve got to get ready to play TCU back-to-back and if you don’t take care of TCU on Tuesday you’ve got to win back-to-back games in order to get a tie. So we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Baylor now trails Kansas by just a half game in the Big 12 race. The Bears play at Texas on Monday night and have just one game left after that. KU still has three games remaining, starting with TCU in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday.

Comments

Tony Bandle

Random Thoughts:

1] I was pleasantly surprised we lost while just missing a single digit deficit. I expected
a revenge blow out.

2] The crown is still in our hands. even if we split with TCU and beat Texas, we will be Big 12 Champs, a title we shared three or four times during the "Streak".

3] Take your pick as to which will be our NCAA downfall....overwhelmed in the paint, inconsistent foul shooting, not stopping the drive, three point defense.

4] Is it too late to clone Ochai?

5] Thanks Big Twelve, four games in eight days. Nice way to finish up the season!!

6] WOW !! Tough night to be ranked in the Top Ten!!!! Seven out of eight ranked teams losing.....that has to be an NCAA first!!

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Nice post TB

3] - if they have bigs, overwhelmed in the paint, if they foul us, inconsistent foul shooting, if they drive the paint, not stopping the drive, if they shoot 3's, leaving shooters wide open at the arc. Don't think we are going to go far in March.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

3] All the same $#!+ that always brings about our NCAA downfall. Same song, different verse.

4] We need more big men than we do more Ochai's. A four-guard lineup can only take us so far.

5] It can't be helped. We have to make up the game with TCU that we were supposed to play on New Year's Day.

6] That takes the sting out of losing, sort of

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Debby Downer Bryce returns. He posts once when we win big, lights up the comments section on every article when we lose.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Tough game to watch. Played well early, then a slow, slow, slow double digit defeat. Was not a suprise to lose there, the way we lost was not either.

Always refreshing to see Remy not guarding his man. It was nice to see Remy back in form. He is G league bound.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Darrel Stice

Sarcasm aside, you're absolutely correct about Remy. I'm glad he's back because he can really create on offense, but his flopping on defense is so frustrating to watch.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

I was serious. :)

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Let me address your first point. Yes, that was a tough game to watch; it felt like your average KU loss in the NCAA Tournament - staying tantalizingly within striking distance, but always managing to give up an untimely play to the opponent on the other end of the floor. You're also right that it was not a surprise to lose, nor that we lost the way we did. It was nice being up big, but with all the shots we missed even as we built our 13-point lead, I got this uncomfortable feeling we ought to have a bigger lead than we did, and the ESPN announcers felt the same way. Sadly, my bad feeling was well-founded.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Debby Downer Bryce at it again. You can tell if we won or lost based on his post count in the articles.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Mallory Briggans

Living in the Dallas area I got a free ticket to the game thanks to a Baylor connection .
What I witnessed was another stellar game by Dajaun Harris . 31 minutes ...................zero points ,..nada ..........zilch .....the big donut . Can someone tell me when a STARTING point guard has given you less offensive production than Harris for Kansas...................................I'll wait...............
Again the 2 players that could give you offense sat on the pine in Remy getting 11 minutes and JCL giving you 4 ..minutes......Again Self thinks our defense is better with those on the bench ,but did he forget we need to still have some sort of scoring . Edward Scissorhands a.k.a. David Mccormack showed up tonight. ............I may start calling him David Mcbunny because he missed a few of those tonight...Going to the TCU game on Tuesday , hopefully Tech will have defeated Baylor on Monday and we will go in up 2
I saw a mention about free throws ..................0 attempts in the 1st half .........relying too much on jump shooting . Baylor got back in the game by attacking the basket we did the opposite

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

We have a top 5 offense in the country with Harris playing 30+ minutes a game. Offense is not a problem (on average, every team will have off nights). This team does not NEED a scoring PG, we need to stop the other team from scoring. If we had Mason, Graham, or Dotson on this team they'd be playing 35 min/game but we don't, so Self is playing who gives us the best chance to win (and who's lead this team to a top 5 to top 10 ranking all year). Remy has been a dud all but about 3 games all year. Doesn't matter that he was a high volume/low efficiency scorer at ASU, we've got better/more efficient scorers on this team. If we'd let him cook every game, he'd likely win us a few games when he gets hot and goes for 25 points. He'd also shoot out us out plenty of games by throwing up brick after brick while being unable to defend anybody on the other end. Ochai is better offensively in every way so we let him cook instead.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Dirk Medema

After 10 bu FTs in the first half and 0 for us, I knew Coach Self was gonna pick up a T.

There were a couple games a couple weeks ago when our FT% was not good, but they seemed to correct it recently. It might not overcome the 10 pt difference, but you never know.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

@jessenewell has forwarned us: <a href="https://twitter.com/jessenewell/status/1497734236010336256"> This is a Doug Sirmons game </a>. But no excuses, we fell in love with 3s, gosh.. 40% of FG attempted is 3pt, with a miserable 25% yield. Just when I thought we improved in 3pt area. LOL...

Harris & Wilson are the weakest (0% & 20%). Any teams, with 2 starters produce that kind of numbers, are bound to fail early in the tourney.. or the conference.

This team is too inconsistent (except CB, Ochai). Maybe fatigue is a factor. But heck, had we kept playing like the first 5-minute... we could've beaten them by double digits again. Our defense is fine. It's the offense that stinks.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Yes, our top 5 nationally ranked offense that put up 102 points last game is what stinks, not the defense that gave up 49 points in the second half. Come on now, lets keep things based in reality.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Yeah, I should've stated the fact, I meant offense against BU. We missed a lot of shots. On defense, how can you not give credit to their offense? Those guys made shots. We missed shots even on good looks.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

After they shot out of their minds against KSU, it was almost a foregone conclusion that they would shoot below average against Baylor. The law of averages always win, they just don't always win immediately. With a great defense you can win on an off night. With a decent defense you can win on an off night if you're not playing a top 10 team. That's basically what this team is.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Carolyn Hunzicker

Harris & Wilson TOGETHER.....70 Minutes 7 POINTS & 7 REBOUNDS. Wheres the Point guard leader we haven't had all season. Two starters....7 points

'

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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RJ King

Carolyn - We don't need a point guard to be our top scorer. Read Shannon's completely sane comments above.

BTW - Harris is currently 17th in the NATION in assist to turnover ratio. Maybe Self trusts him just a LITTLE ? ? ? ?

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Chad Smith

lost a road game to a top 10 team who had to have it. disappointing we couldn't finish at the rim and missed some free throws. shot too many 3's, made ourselves easier to guard. thamba had 4 fouls going into the stretch run of the game. have to get McCormack the ball in that situation. all top 6 teams lost on the road on Saturday. I'm with self, move on and go beat TCU on Tuesday.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Not easy to do, given TCU will be on Cloud 9 following their win over Texas Tech, and given we haven't fared well in games played in the state of Texas this year (L at TTU, L at UT, and now an L at BU).

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

Looks, it's Debby Downer Bryce, what a shock.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matt Gauntt

It's always refreshing to see how many high level coaches we have that fill this board after a loss. So many of you guys are just wasting your talents as keyboard warriors. LOL

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Rodney Crain

Thanks Matt.

Can you point me to the guide on here on what comments you approve of? I mean if we are to maintain your "standards" at least let us know where the bar is set.

It's ok to have discourse, even healthy. :)

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matt Gauntt

I actually liked your comments today, Rodney.

I just laugh at a lot of the posts here because so many are putting themselves up as knowing about twice as much as HCBS when they couldn't get a job washing laundry at a D-3 program.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Why don't you take over kusports.com and ban the posting?

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Matt Gauntt

Love and kisses, Steve.

Did my comment hit a little too close to home? Have you been turned down for that job washing laundry at Washburn? LOL

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Last I checked, Washburn was D-2. Nice try, though.

Maybe you could try your luck washing laundry at NAIA schools like Haskell or Baker - that is, if they're willing to consider you...

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Steve Zimmerman

Matt, with all due respect, KU's fan to fan, I will stop responding. You win the argument. But that doesn't mean anything - I will still read and comment on articles, other posts here - connect with other loyal and passionate KU bball fans. Hats off to those who dare enough voicing their opinions in this forum. No fear, fellows. Let's exercise our freedom here.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Mallory Briggans

I know Matt ..we are wasting our time being keyboard warriors ......being critical of Coach Self.
Before you know it ,we will be criticizing people of who criticize us for being keyboard warriors.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

There's no shame in losing to Baylor in Waco. After all, they were ranked #10 in the polls, they are projected to be a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they are the defending national champions. Moreover, we were one of seven teams ranked in the AP Top 10 to lose, so while I'd rather buck a negative trend like that than be part of it, I don't feel so bad about losing as the #5 team in the country.

The shame is in how we lost. We blew a 13-point first half lead. We led 28-15 and got outscored by 23 the rest of the way. We spent more time chucking 3's than we did taking the ball to the basket. We didn't do anything to merit a trip to the FT line in the first half, and when we did get to the foul line in the second half, we bricked a lot of FTs. We weren't tough, we weren't smart, we didn't value the ball when we had it, and we got exactly what we deserved. Worse than blowing a 13-point lead is blowing a chance to clinch a share of the conference title. We could have done that last night. We can still do it this week, but we made it more difficult on ourselves with this loss.

Normally, this would be the point where I'd bash Bill Self, but I honestly don't think this loss was his fault. I figured there was a chance we would lose this game when the schedule came out, and there's no shame in losing on the road against the defending national champions - especially when we already beat the crap out of them when they came to Lawrence. The only thing I'll bash Self for is the technical foul he got early in the second half. What exactly did he think he would accomplish by getting T'ed up? I know some coaches deliberately get T's in an effort to light a fire under their team's collective @$$ (like Dan Hurley at Connecticut), but that never seems to work with Self's Jayhawks. All it did was give Baylor two points on technical free throws and make our final margin of defeat 10 points instead of 8.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

He wanted to accomplish exactly what he accomplished. He got the refs to wake up and realize there was a HUGE foul and free throw discrepancy. The next 3 times down the floor they called ticky tack fouls on Baylor and by the end of the game things had balanced out.

Ochai also went on his big scoring run right afterwards. Coincidence or he was fired up by it?

To say Self's T's never accomplish anything is laughable. There have been MANY times where he's done that and KU's immediately went on a massive run.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

Hey look! It's Shannon Gustafson, the fat-ass heifer who rides on a vacuum cleaner because no broom could tolerate her!

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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RJ King

omg Bryce ... this is a new low for you.
I get it, I guess. It's so common to name call in response to someone else's intellectual superiority. Especially if it might be a woman.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Shannon Gustafson

No, it's not a new low. He had a nice "woman hating" post towards me in the past as well. Told me "why don't you go back to the kitchen and laundry room where you belong?". He's a real piece of work. A real man of God of you will. If only he knew that my BMI and body fat % is lower than his and his wife's.

I'd hate for his place of employment to see to sort of misogynistic hatred he spews on here. Due to his line of work, it would almost certain get him fired. Getting "canceled" for such things is quite popular right now.

Such a fit man, a real physical specimen:
https://i.imgur.com/tGbBuWm.jpg

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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RJ King

Oh dear - that's even worse than what I already suspected. Apparently his is The Church of Hate somewhere in Iowa. (Preach Brother Bryce, preach.)

What the real man said, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Clarence Haynes

Wouldn’t surprise me if Texas were to defeat Baylor tonight.

2 months, 3 weeks ago

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