Bears down: Kansas Beats Baylor 78-68; The Jayhawks Stay Undefeated in Big 12 Play
The Kansas Jayhawks won their fifth straight Big 12 game after beating Baylor 78-68 on Monday night. Kansas now sits at 5-0 in the Big 12 for the third straight year, and is currently first place in the league. The win on Monday also marked Kansas’ fourth consecutive victory against a ranked opponent, which is something that hasn’t been accomplished by another team since 1997. With wins against Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Baylor, the Jayhawks are on a quest for their tenth straight Big 12 title, and if they keep playing the way they have been, I’m not sure that they can be stopped. Let’s take a look at how the Jayhawks were able to win their fifth straight conference game on Monday night:
1. Pace of the Game: Typically, the Jayhawks like to play a run-and-gun style of play where they run the floor and get out in transition. In contrast, Scott Drew’s squad likes to slow the game down and get their half-court offense going which usually makes it hard for fast-paced teams like Kansas to get out and run their game plan. Their strategy worked on Monday night, as they were able to keep the Jayhawks out of transition, hit shots from the outside, and keep the game close for the first 20 minutes. Though slowing the game down kept it close, the problem for Baylor came when they didn’t hit their shots in the second half which made it hard for them to be efficient from the offensive end of the floor, and ultimately kept them from staying in the game. Missed shots also led to Kansas getting in transition, which led to some fantastic plays from Perry Ellis and Andrew Wiggins
2. Turnovers: As Brandon stated in the preview, both Baylor and Kansas have turned the ball over a lot this season, and Monday night proved to be no different. Baylor came out playing a 1-3-1 trap defense which forced a lot of turnovers for Kansas, but the Jayhawks committed a few unforced turnovers on their own, such as Brannen Greene’s across the court pass that ended up in the third row of Allen Fieldhouse and Frank Mason’s try at a one-handed catch in transition. Kansas’ physical defense also forced Baylor to turn the ball over too, but in the end some stifling defense and dumb mistakes led both teams to 16 turnovers on the night.
3. Defensive Rebounding: With two long and athletic teams like Kansas and Baylor, winning the battle of the boards was important for both teams on Monday night. The Jayhawks haven’t been a great offensive rebounding team but have excelled on the defensive side of the boards all season long and Big Monday’s matchup against Baylor proved to be no exception. Kansas snagged 22 defensive rebounds as opposed to Baylor’s 11, but the offensive side of things was a different story. The Bears out rebounded Kansas 20-7 on the offensive boards, giving them the edge with 31 rebounds on the night as opposed to Kansas’ 29.