Published January 16, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – T-Rob and Tyshawn gave Baylor more than it could handle — and Kansas more than enough.
Thomas Robinson had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Tyshawn Taylor matched a career-high with 28 points and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 92-74 victory Monday night, ending the third-ranked Bears' perfect start and proving once more that the road to the Big 12 title goes through Kansas.
Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson added 11 points each for the Jayhawks (15-3, 5-0), who won their 16th straight game at Allen Fieldhouse and 10th in a row at home over the Bears. Kansas is 17-2 against them all-time.
A trendy pick to end the Jayhawks' seven-year stranglehold on the conference, Baylor (17-1, 4-1) had been riding the longest winning streak in school history to its best start ever.
It all came undone in one of college basketball's premier venues.
Perry Jones III scored 18 points, Quincy Miller had 17 and Quincy Acy added 14, but the long and lean Bears were dominated in the paint and had no answer for the combination of Robinson and Taylor, one of the best inside-outside tandems in the nation.
Robinson, who has cemented himself as a legitimate national player of the year candidate, overpowered the Baylor front line with an array of rim-rattling dunks and short-range jumpers. Meanwhile, Taylor hit four 3-pointers and doled out six assists in another stellar all-around performance.
The outcome left No. 1 Syracuse and No. 12 Murray State as the only undefeated teams in Division I.
Facing its fourth top-10 opponent of the season, the veteran Jayhawks swarmed the younger Bears with pressure from the opening tip, making life miserable on both ends of the court.
Robinson provided the early boost, scoring eight of his 12 first-half points in the opening 6-plus minutes. The run included a dazzling one-handed dunk off an alley-oop feed from Taylor that set Twitter ablaze and generated a roar inside Allen Fieldhouse that could be heard in Kansas City.
The Bears answered the first salvo with a 16-5 run of their own.
Jones started it with a jumper, and Gary Franklin curled in a 3-pointer for his only points of the game. By the time Pierre Jackson knocked down another 3 and Acy added a basket inside, Baylor had pulled ahead 27-22 and Kansas coach Bill Self asked for a timeout.
It sure seemed to settle down the Jayhawks.
Robinson scored on a nifty spin move inside and Jeff Withey added two free throws to start a 17-2 run to end the half. Taylor scored 11 of the final 13 points, including a 3 from the top of the key with Jackson staring him down in the closing seconds to make it 39-29.
Jackson hit a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 39-32 in the opening minute of the second half, and Brady Heslip added another 3 a couple of minutes later to make it 43-37 with 17:32 to go.
That was as close as Baylor got.
Kansas scored on its next seven possessions, another dunk by Robinson pushing the lead to 59-42 with 13:04 left. The lead swelled to 19 when Taylor scored on an acrobatic scooping layup, missed the ensuing foul shot, and then hit a 3-pointer from the wing after Kansas got the offensive rebound.
Robinson's basket with 6:54 left made it a 20-point game.
By the time Robinson checked out with just over a minute to go, the crowd that had jammed the Jayhawks' historic field house to the rafters — and generated crowd noise registering at 114 decibels at the tip — was on their feet and giving him a standing ovation.
It was the first time an unbeaten team had come to Kansas during Big 12 play. The last time it happened with a current member was on Jan. 21, 1986, when Oklahoma came into the game 17-0.
Just like Baylor, the Sooners went home 17-1.