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Baylor battles Kansas in Big 12 Tournament semifinals

The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks will try to seeded Baylor Bears in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament at the Sprint Center.

Baylor struggled against the Jayhawks once again this season. The Bears lost both of their regular season matchups with Kansas by double-digit margins. First, the Jayhawks spoiled Baylor's 17-0 start on Jan. 16 with a 92-74 win at Allen Fieldhouse. The Bears has their lowest scoring output when they failed to return the favor and fell 68-54 to Kansas on their home floor. In 2009 the programs had their only previous meeting in the Big 12 Tournament, the then No. 9-seed Baylor upset the top-seeded Jayhawks.

Coach Scott Drew has transformed the Bears (26-6) from a Big-12 bottom dweller into one of the top program's in the nation. Drew led the team to a school- record 12 conference victories this season. The 12th-ranked Bears avenged a regular season loss and defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, 82-74, in their postseason debut in Thursday's quarterfinal round. Baylor had a tremendous offensive performance versus KSU, as it made 56.9 percent of its field goal attempts. The Bears improved to 12-3 in games played away from home with the victory.

Baylor will hope Perry Jones III can continue the stellar play he exhibited on Thursday versus Kansas State in his Big 12 Conference Tournament debut. Jones III made 11-of-14 of his field goal attempts to score a career-high 31 points and added 11 rebounds to pace the team. It was the third-straight double- double for BU's star sophomore, who was suspended for last year's tourney. Jones III was not the only productive player for Baylor on Thursday. Brady Heslip netted 15 points while Pierre Jackson scored 13 points and handed out eight assists. A.J. Walton got into the mix with 11 points and four steals and Quincy Acy added 10 points.

Although Baylor's improvement has put it near the top of the conference, it will need to knock off Kansas (27-5) to become the king of the hill. The third-ranked Jayhawks reeled off eight victories in a row to close out the regular season to earn the top-seed in the tourney and finish with an impressive 16-2 record in league action. Coach Bill Self guided his team to an 83-66 victory over the ninth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the quarterfinal round on Thursday. The Jayhawks began their postseason off by draining a season-high 61.4 percent of their shots from the floor versus the Aggies. Kansas also played well defensively, as it held A&M under 40 percent shooting.

The 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson did not disappoint versus Texas A&M, as he recorded his NCAA leading 23rd double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. While senior guard Tyshawn Taylor added 16 points to score in double figures for the 29th time this season, Elijah Johnson set a new career high with 26 points. Jeff Withey, who averages a Big 12 leading 3.3 blocks per game, swatted four shots to frustrate Texas A&M offensively.