Kansas Rolls over Baylor 69-52 in Waco

Kevin McRaeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

Naadir Tharpe picked up the slack to lead the No. 8 Jayhawks to a double-digit victory Tuesday night in Waco.
Naadir Tharpe picked up the slack to lead the No. 8 Jayhawks to a double-digit victory Tuesday night in Waco.Associated Press

Most of the stories written about the Kansas Jayhawks this season have revolved around their pair of stud freshmen, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, but on Tuesday night in Waco, Bill Self's club showed they can beat you, even on a night when their top stars struggle.

The No. 8 Jayhawks (17-5, 8-1 Big 12) once again showed why most consider them the class of an extremely deep Big 12 Conference, upending Baylor 69-52 in a game the Bears desperately needed to keep their tournament hopes alive.

Junior guard Naadir Thorpe led Kansas with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc. His performance was all the more impressive, given that neither Wiggins nor Embiid ultimately factored much in the result.

Wiggins finished with 14 points, including a beyond half-court three to end the first-half, on 4-of-13 shooting. Most of his points came in the second half, and with the game nearly out of reach.

Embiid, a 7'0" center from Cameroon, didn't even crack the score sheet until he connected with a free throw with just under four minutes remaining in the game. He finished with five points and seven rebounds.

For Baylor (14-8, 2-7 Big 12) tonight's loss, their fourth straight at home, is a killer. A team with top-25 talent, the Bears have struggled mightily in conference play, and had a chance to build on a season-best victory at No. 19 Oklahoma State on Saturday.

But against the Jayhawks, they just couldn't cash-in on their opportunities, and will now have a long way to go in order to avoid sweating it out on selection Sunday.

Seniors Cory Jefferson with 14 points, and Brady Heslip with 12 points, all in the first half, led the Bears.

Kansas will return to action on Feb. 8 when they host West Virginia at the Allen Fieldhouse.

Baylor also returns to the court on Feb. 8, and it doesn't get any easier. They'll visit No. 21 Oklahoma.