Waco, TX – With sharp shooting performances from Cory Jefferson and Pierre Jackson -- who combined for 53 points -- Baylor enhanced its NCAA Tournament resume by knocking off fourth-ranked Kansas in convincing fashion, 81-58, on Saturday at Ferrell Center.
With just three wins in their last 11 games, the Bears (18-13, 9-9 Big 12) were desperate for a victory and played like it. Jackson, a senior playing in his last regular-season game, scorched the nets with 28 points on 11-of-13 shooting and also handed out 10 assists.
Jefferson made all three of his 3-point attempts and also finished 11-for-13 from the field en route to 25 points to go with seven rebounds and three blocks for Baylor, which will head into the Big 12 Tournament as the sixth seed and face Oklahoma State.
"After we enjoy this win, we need to come back together and make sure we prepare and get ready," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "We're playing Oklahoma State, which is a top team in the country. We've had two great games against them, and I'd expect another great game against them. Hopefully we can execute and do what we need to do."
Despite an overall disappointing performance, the Jayhawks (26-5, 14-4) were still able to claim a share of their ninth straight Big 12 conference title, as they finished in a first place tie with Kansas State, which fell to Oklahoma State earlier on Saturday.
Ben McLemore finished with 23 points and Perry Ellis scored 12, while Jeff Withey tallied eight points, eight boards and four blocks in defeat for Kansas, which had won seven straight.
After Kansas scored the first bucket of the contest, Baylor never trailed and was in control of the contest throughout. The Bears punctuated the blowout victory by holding Kansas without a field goal over the final six minutes. The Jayhawks shot just 37.5 (21-of-56) for the game.
"Baylor needed this game today, based on what everyone says, and they got it," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "I think this one definitely put them in the field."
McLemore and Ellis gave Kansas one last hope when they combined for an 11-0 run to bring the visitors within 61-55, but Isaiah Austin's jumper quelled the surge and began a 9-0 spurt to push the Bears' edge back up to 15 to seal the contest.
Baylor's top scorers got going right away, with Jefferson knocking down his first triple following three straight buckets from Jackson to open up a 22-13 spread for the Bears near the midway point of the first half.
With just over four minutes left, a jumper from Withey brought Kansas within 30-27, but it never came closer as Jefferson then sent Baylor into the break with a 37-28 lead after hitting another 3-pointer, concluding an 8-for-10, 18- point first half performance.
Kansas won the previous matchup with Baylor, 61-44, back on Jan. 14 ... The Jayhawks will be the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament ... Baylor earned just its fourth victory in 23 games against Kansas ... Austin finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.