Jayhawks Fall To Baylor, 81-72, In Phillips 66 Big 12 Semifinals
March 9, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -Third-ranked Kansas was defeated by No. 11 Baylor, 81-72, in the semifinals of the 2012 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship Friday evening at the Sprint Center. The Bears capitalized on timely three-point shooting to stave off a Kansas rally en route to advancing to the tournament title game where it will face the winner of Texas-Missouri.
The loss dropped the Jayhawks to 27-6 on the season and marked their first loss since falling at Missouri on Feb. 4, a span of nine wins. The loss also snapped KU's Big 12 Championship win streak at seven-straight games.
After taking a 43-35 lead into the break, Baylor opened the second half on fire getting a three from Pierre Jackson and a three-point play from Quincy Miller on its way to taking a 14-point lead early in the final frame. KU got two free throws from Elijah Johnson and one from Jeff Withey, but BU forward Quincy Acy sandwiched two baskets down low around a bucket from KU's Thomas Robinsonto take a 51-38 lead at the first time out of the second half.
KU then went to work, going on a 20-5 run over the next eight minutes to claim a 58-56 lead off of a layup by Robinson. Taylor scored seven of the points during the run, including two driving layups and a banked in three-pointer. Robinson put in six points in the run, while Withey was a monster on the defensive end blocking five shots.
Baylor was not done though. The Bears countered with a 7-2 run and regained the momentum off of a three by Brady Heslip with the shot clock expiring and two tough baskets by Perry Jones III. Heslip would again prove deadly as he drilled another three with just over two minutes to play to give the Bears a six point cushion at 70-64.
Following and bucket inside by KU's Taylor, Heslip came down and knocked down his fourth three of the game giving the Bears 73-66 advantage. Jones III made two free throws for Baylor and then Taylor scored again inside to trim the lead to 75-68 with exactly one minute remaining in the game.
KU got a steal off the inbounds pass from Conner Teahan which led to a basket inside by Travis Releford, but Baylor held on for the 81-72 win by knocking down 6-of-7 foul shots in the closing seconds.
Baylor controlled the majority of the first half as the Bears spread the ball around scoring five baskets in the paint and five from beyond the arc. After Kansas took an early 8-7 lead on a dunk by Johnson, Baylor reeled off eight-straight points to forge a 15-8 lead with just under 14 minutes to play in the first period.
Kansas fought right back going on a 10-1 run of its own capped off by a free throw by Withey as KU took an 18-16 lead just three minutes later. It would be the last lead of the half for the Jayhawks. Kansas, depleted by foul trouble, struggled with the length of Baylor's Jones III and Miller, who each posted 10 points in the opening frame.
Johnson paced KU in the first half, scoring nine points. Withey and Taylor each chipped in seven tallies, but KU's Big 12 Player of the Year Robinson was held to just five points and one rebound while battling foul trouble. Robinson's touches were limited by the Baylor defense as he only attempted four shots in the first half.
Kansas, which made 10-of-15 shots from beyond the arc in its win over Texas A&M on Thursday, managed to hit just 2-of-13 from three versus Baylor. The Jayhawks did dominate the paint, outscoring BU 44-24 inside, but the Bears' 9-of-19 shooting from the perimeter was too much for KU to overcome.
Taylor finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points, while also dishing a team-high three assists. Robinson had a strong second half, finishing with 15 points and nine boards. Johnson was in double-figures for the second-straight game with 15 points, while Withey added 11 points and seven boards to go along with his five blocks.
Jones III was the leader for Baylor with 18 points, and was one of six BU players to reach double figures. Heslip's made 4-of-6 three-point shots in the win, while Jackson finished with 12 points, seven assists and five boards.
Kansas will now await its postseason fate as the 2012 NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced Sunday, March 11, on CBS from 5-6 p.m., (CT).