No. 17 Baylor beats No. 9 Kansas in matchup of last 2 champs
WACO, Texas (AP) — LJ Cryer had 22 points with five 3-pointers and 17th-ranked Baylor stretched its Big 12-best winning streak to five games with a 75-69 win over No. 9 Kansas on Monday night in a matchup of the last two national champions.
The reigning champion Jayhawks (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) coming off a 23-point home loss to TCU, lost their third straight game. It’s only their fourth three-game losing streak in coach Bill Self’s 20 seasons.
Adam Flagler added 17 points, while Jalen Bridges and Langston Love each had 11 for 2021 champion Baylor (15-5, 5-3), which overcome another tough shooting night. The Bears were 37.1% from the field (23 of 62) two days after a 62-60 win at Oklahoma when they shot a season-low 36.2%.
Freshman Gradey Dick had 24 points for the Jayhawks while Jalen Wilson had 23. Kevin McCullar Jr. had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season.
Love converted a three-point play for the Bears with 14:32 left to put them ahead to stay after Kansas took its only lead at 46-45 when Wilson swished a 3-pointer from the left wing. Love’s field goal and free throw started a 12-3 run that he capped with a 3-pointer.
KJ Adams made two free throws with 6 seconds left in the first half to get the Jayhawks within 41-34, the closest they had been since about five minutes into the game.
After Wilson’s layup got Kansas within 11-7, Baylor had a 9-0 run that was punctuated by Josh Ojianwuna’s two-handed putback dunk. That was the last time in the half that the Bears had consecutive scores, though Cryer did make three 3s in an 83-second span — the first two after 3s by Dick and Wilson, and the third following two free throws by Dick.
Kansas: The other times the Jayhawks lost three in a row under Self were in February 2005, February 2013 and January 2021. ... Dick got his second foul only 3:13 into the first half, and was limited to 11 minutes before the break.
Baylor: The Bears got off to a fast start with a steal by Bridges that led to a fast-break layup by Cryer before Flo Thamba had a three-point play. Bridges then had another steal, this one in the backcourt, though Cryer missed an open 3 that would have made it 8-0 only a minute into the game. ... The Bears are 25-8 against Top 25 teams over the past four seasons, the nation’s best mark.
Kansas goes to Rupp Arena to play Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
Baylor is home for its SEC/Big 12 Challenge game against Arkansas on Saturday. That is a rematch of the 2021 Elite Eight game the Bears won 81-72 on way to winning their national championship.