Kansas faced its toughest test since changing its defense and turning it into statistically one of the country’s best. Baylor was trying to keep their perfect record intact and, in the process, clinch the Big 12 regular-season title in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas’ defense started the game playing really well, making it tough for Baylor to do anything on offense. But the Kansas offense missed shots and turned the ball over on bad passes attempting to get it inside to David McCormack.
Christian Braun hurt the Jayhawks on both ends of the court in the first half. Playing off of a three-point shooter allowed a couple of triples for Baylor. Then a bad shot selection on offense led to a Baylor break for another three-point basket. He cannot force shots. If he doesn’t have the shot, he needs to just move the ball. The shots will be there.
Kansas shot 50% from the field in the first half but just 1-for-8 behind the arc. David McCormack led the Jayhawks offensively with 14 points and didn’t miss a shot. While Ochai Agbaji was 0-for-3 behind the arc, Marcus Garrett was effective driving to the basket for his eight points. But Kansas outplayed Texas by 11 in the first half on Tuesday. The Jayhawks would have to play just as well defensively and probably have to shoot better behind the arc to win the game.
This was just Baylor’s second game back from a long break because of the covid, but that’s not why they struggled offensively. No, that was because of the great defense the Jayhawks played.
Mitch Lightfoot entered the game to give McCormack some rest with three fouls in the second half. Lightfoot was terrific blocking shots, rebounding, passing, and scoring. He was a different force for Kansas in the middle but very effective in his own way.
Kansas extended a three-point lead at the half to eight points at the under-12 media timeout. Baylor made a run to which Kansas responded.
Baylor never got within one possession throughout the remainder of the game. Kansas made all of the plays down the stretch and showed that they just might be better than we ever expected in March.