Three takeaways from KU basketball’s comeback win against the Baylor Bears

1 month ago AOL

Kansas guard Dajuan Harris couldn’t help but skip up the floor.

The junior guard zoomed up the court and lobbed a pass up to Gradey Dick, who then slammed home the alley-oop. The fans inside Allen Fieldhouse roared. This was the KU team fans had packed Allen Fieldhouse to see.

Not only did Harris’ alley-oop put Kansas up five after the Jayhawks found themselves down 17 earlier in the game, it showcased a complete flip in aggression from Harris and the rest of his teammates in the second half.

After looking lethargic early, the No. 5 Kansas men’s basketball team came back and beat No. 5 Baylor 87-71 on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse. The win keeps the Jayhawks in a tie for first in the Big 12, with Texas also winning on Saturday.

Jalen Wilson scored 21 points and Gradey Dick added 16 for the Jayhawks, who split the season series with Baylor. In January, the Bears defeated KU 75-69 at Ferrell Center.

Kansas (22-5, 10-4 Big 12) has won four straight conference games.

Adam Flagler scored 22 points on 9-for-17 shooting for the Bears (20-6, 9-5 Big 12), who had their five-game winning streak halted by KU. BU dropped a game back of first in the conference race.

Let’s just say Kansas fans can skip re-watching the first half. The Jayhawks were outhustled, outshot and flat-out outplayed by the Bears, who led 45-32 at the half.

Kansas went on a 10-0 run to start the second half, cutting Baylor’s lead to three points (45-42).

Dick hit a three with 14:28 left, giving Kansas its first lead (50-49) since he hit a layup to start the game. After taking the lead, KU went on a 16-5 run to put itself up 12 points and take control of the game.

The Bears never got much closer.

Kansas will travel to Fort Worth to face TCU on Monday at Schollmaier Arena. Until then, here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game…

Baylor guards cause KU fits early

Earlier in the week, Kansas coach Bill Self called the trio of Baylor guards (LJ Cryer, Flagler and Keyonte George) the best offensive trio in the nation.

The trio showed why on Saturday afternoon.

BU’s Jalen Bridges hit a three with 40 seconds left in the first half … and became the first Baylor player besides the three guards to score.

The Bears’ big three combined for 42 of BU’s 45 first-half points. They shot a combined 8-for-13 (61.5%) from beyond the arc. In comparison, KU shot 1-for-11 (9.1%) from three-point land in the half.

George led the way with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor, while Flagler added 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Finally, Cryer chipped in 13 points on 4-for-9 shooting ... all in the first half.

It felt like no matter what Kansas did on defense, the trio couldn’t miss, including hitting multiple difficult shots from beyond the arc. They finished with 57 combined points and nine made threes.

After a quiet half, Dajuan Harris delivers

Harris’ aggressiveness is a good barometer for how Kansas is doing.

Whenever he has an attacking mindset on offense, KU is usually winning. When he’s quiet, Kansas is usually losing.

Harris had zero points and only shot once in the first half, and naturally, KU found itself down 13 at the break.

Harris upped his activity level In the second half and played a pivotal role in KU’s 18-4 second-half run that gave the Jayhawks their first lead since it was 2-0.

Harris finished with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting while dishing nine assists. He also had two critical steals in 37 minutes.

Kansas’ defense tightens up in the second half

The Jayhawks struggled to defend Baylor in the first half. The Bears shot 16-for-31 (51.6%) from the floor, including 9-for-14 (64. 3%) from beyond the arc.

That wasn’t the case in the second half.

Baylor shot 10-for-28 (35.7%), including 1-for-11 (9.1%) from three-point land.

Kansas did an excellent job of contesting shots, running BU shooters off the arc and not giving many easy looks. That’s part of how they flipped a one-time 17-point deficit into a 16-point win.
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