The second-ranked Baylor Bears moved to a perfect 13-0 to start the 2020-21 season, earning a 77-69 home win over No. 9 Kansas on Monday night at the Ferrell Center.
An abundance of preparation time didn't help the Jayhawks, who last played Jan. 12 after their game against Iowa State was postponed. They suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since January 2019.
Baylor needed a little more than five minutes to build a double-digit advantage and didn't look back from there. Every time Kansas looked to be knocking on the door, the Bears had an answer.
That's easier to do when Jared Butler had the kind of night he enjoyed, setting a season high in scoring. For whatever reason, he loves playing the Jayhawks:
Jared Butler, G, Baylor: 30 points (10-14 FG; 7-9 3PT), eight assists, one rebound, one steal
Christian Braun, G, Kansas: 17 points (5-7 FG; 5-6 3PT), four rebounds, one assist
Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas: 16 points (5-12 FG; 4-7 3PT), two rebounds, two steals, one assist
Baylor Makes Another Big Statement
The COVID-19 pandemic forced one of the most highly anticipated games of the season to be postponed. The implications of that December meeting between Baylor and Gonzaga have grown larger given how the teams continue to occupy the top two spots in the polls.
The Bears have also seen games against No. 14 West Virginia and No. 5 Texas pushed back. Still, they've now played three ranked opponents and knocked off all three.
On Monday night, Baylor looked to be a clear level ahead of Kansas:
Butler was a big reason why.
The junior guard had an off night in Saturday's win over Texas Tech, finishing 2-of-11 from the floor. He found his shooting touch against the Jayhawks:
Butler connected on a pair of critical three-pointers in the second half as Kansas was building up a head of steam. It had to be a little demoralizing for Kansas to see all of its work undone in a matter of moments by the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.
Kansas Unable to Dig out of Early Hole
Things weren't looking good for Kansas when it was staring at a 16-point deficit with 4:12 left in the first half. Thirteen points separated the teams at halftime.
Bill Self did a good job to reset his squad prior to the second half. The Jayhawks didn't allow the score to get too far out of hand and chipped away at Baylor's lead to the point that an Ochai Agbaji dunk brought them to within five points at the 10:00 mark:
However, Baylor responded with a 9-0 run to gain some breathing room before Kansas had a 9-0 run of its own. The second of Butler's two pivotal three-pointers brought the Jayhawks' outburst to an end.
Agbaji and Christian Braun did the heavy lifting for Kansas' offense. Braun was particularly vital in the first half since his 14 points prevented the game from being even more one-sided early on:
Self should be encouraged by how his players clawed back against a tough opponent despite the poor start. The Jayhawks will next meet the Bears on Feb. 27.
Kansas stays on the road to play Oklahoma on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. Baylor takes on Oklahoma State a couple of hours later at 2 p.m. ET in Stillwater.