WACO, Texas – Jeff Withey scored a career-high 25 points and Kansas went ahead to stay during a stretch without Thomas Robinson as the seventh-ranked Jayhawks had another convincing victory over sixth-ranked Baylor, winning 68-54 Wednesday night.
After a 14-3 run over the final 4½ minutes of the first half with Robinson on the bench to take its first lead, Kansas (19-5, 9-2 Big 12) scored 14 consecutive points early in the second half to take complete control of the game.
The Jayhawks, coming off a 74-71 loss at fourth-ranked Missouri on Saturday, grabbed a share of the Big 12 lead with the Tigers.
Baylor (21-3, 8-3) was 17-0 with the longest winning streak in school history before a 92-74 loss at Kansas just more than three weeks ago. The Bears followed that with a one-point home loss to Missouri, where they play their next game Saturday.
Kansas had lost two of its previous three games, but still hasn't lost consecutive games in more than six years — a span of 228 games since January 2006.
After the first half-ending spurt for a 33-30 lead, Withey had a turnover to start the second half before Pierre Jackson came away from a scrum on the floor with the ball for a Baylor layup.
Kansas then scored 14 points in a row, a stretch started by Withey's layup before he added a three-point play.
Withey then had consecutive steals that led to jumpers by Robinson, who didn't play the final 5:26 of the first half after his second foul. Robinson was fouled making the second jumper and turned it into a three-point play. That turned into a seven-point possession when Quincy Miller's foul was called flagrant after officials looked at replay.
After Withey made the technical free throw, Tyshawn Taylor's 3-pointer with 16½ minutes left pushed Kansas to a 47-32 lead.
In the Jan. 16 game against Baylor, Taylor and Robinson had combined for 55 points and both matched career highs for field goals made. Taylor had a career-best 28 points in that game and Robinson had 27.
Taylor finished 19 points this time, his ninth consecutive game with at least 15. Robinson had 15 points with 11 rebounds.
Jackson led Baylor with 16 points, while Quincy Acy and Cory Jefferson had 11 each.
Withey had already matched his previous career high of 15 on a free throw with 2½ minutes left in the first half to get Kansas within 30-25. He then blocked a shot by Jefferson, which led to a 3-pointer by Conner Teahan. Withey set his new career high when he made a tying layup with 1:34 left, and added to it in the second half.
The Jayhawks never led until Teahan's 3-pointer in the final minute made it 33-30.
Baylor worked the already raucous sellout crowd into a frenzy by scoring the first seven points. Kansas coach Bill Self called timeout less than 2 minutes into the game.
The opening play was an alley-oop pass from Jackson to Perry Jones III for a slam dunk. Jackson then penetrated for a short floater after Withey was called for an offensive foul away from the ball. The Bears were up 7-0 when Jackson had another assist, a bounce pass to Quincy Miller for a 3-pointer from the right wing.
Neither Jones, the preseason Big 12 player of the year, or Miller had another field goal.
After making their first three shots, Baylor missed the next five and Kansas got even at 7-all when Withey made two free throws with 14:42 left after being fouled while trying to grab a rebound of his own miss.
The Bears pushed back ahead 19-9 after Jackson's alley-oop pass to Acy for another rim-rattling dunk that reignited the fans, before Jackson stole the ball from Withey and scored on a baseline floater.