Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Having recently had a six-game win streak come to an end, the 21sth-ranked Baylor Bears get back to work on Wednesday night as they welcome the 12th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks to the Ferrell Center for a Big 12 Conference tussle.
Both teams come in sporting identical overall record at 11-2, with this being the conference opener for Kansas, and Baylor having already suffered a defeat in its league lid lifter last Saturday at Oklahoma (73-63).
Kansas has won its last two games after falling at Temple in a surprising 77-52 final on Dec. 22. Double-digit home wins over Kent State (78-62) and UNLV (76-61) have gotten the team back on track, as it prepares for the rigors of Big 12 play.
Despite Baylor's recent loss to Oklahoma, the team has enjoyed tremendous success over the last year or so, going 23-5 dating back to Feb. 12, 2014. The Bears are 8-0 at home this season.
Kansas has dominated the series with Baylor, winning 21 of the 25 all-time meetings. However, the Bears have been more competitive of late, trailing just 3-2 in the last five matchups.
Trailing UNLV 33-29 at halftime, Kansas went on a tear over the final 20 minutes in hitting 60 percent of its field goal attempts to pull ahead and eventually put a 15-point decision into the win column. Four of the five starters for the Jayhawks scored in double figures, led by Frank Mason III with 18 points. He also dished out seven assists, helping guys like Wayne Selden, Jr. (16), Perry Ellis (16), Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) and Cliff Alexander (10) get in on the action as well. Oubre paced the team with 10 rebounds, as KU easily won the battle on the boards, 45-31. Points in the paint (38-28), off turnovers (20-6) and out on the break (19-4) also played a role in the positive outcome for the Jayhawks.
Kansas is by no means an offensive juggernaut, as the team averages 71.2 ppg behind a typical shooting output of .426 overall, which does happen to include a 39.2 percent effort from 3-point range. Defensively, the team permits 64.5 ppg, with foes shooting just 41.9 percent from the floor and the Jayhawks control the glass to the tune of a +7.4 rebounding margin. Ellis and Mason are the only two double-digit scorers on the season, with the former netting 13.0 ppg and the latter 12.4 ppg.
Johnathan Motley scored a career-high 24 points, Taurean Prince added 17 more, and Rico Gathers grabbed a dozen rebounds, but those efforts went for naught as Baylor dropped a 10-point decision at Oklahoma over the weekend. The Bears struggled to hit the open shot, converting just 37.3 percent of their field goal attempts, and they suffered a 40-35 deficit on the boards. The Sooners didn't shoot much better (.407), but they went 21-of-25 at the foul line, compared to only 12-of-18 by the visitors.
Baylor hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard this season either, the team producing 70 ppg thanks to a whopping +10.5 rebounding differential. As a result, foes are scoring just 56.1 ppg, in connecting on only 37.7 percent of their total shots, which includes a dismal 27.6 percent showing from beyond the arc. Prince is the Bears' leading scorer, but he averages just 12 ppg. Motley (10.8 ppg) and Royce O'Neal (10.3 ppg) round out the unit's double- digit scorers, while Gathers is close to averaging a double-double with 9.6 points and 10.6 caroms per contest.