WACO, Texas — No. 8 Kansas bounced back to earn a split in its Big 12 two-step through Texas.
After the Jayhawks fell to No. 25 Texas on Saturday, guard Naadir Tharpe led a rejuvenated Kansas team to a 69-52 win over Baylor on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.
Tharpe tallied 22 points, four assists and five rebounds, and he came up with the big baskets when Kansas needed them.
He hit a 3-pointer with 1:05 left in the first half, then made another 10 seconds into the second half. In between, Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins tossed in a half-court shot at the first-half buzzer.
Tharpe’s trey to open the second half finished a 9-0 run that gave the Jayhawks an 11-point cushion.
Baylor fought back, cutting the deficit to 45-42 after forward Taurean Prince made two free throws with just under 13 minutes remaining. Tharpe answered with a 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor, and Baylor wouldn’t get that close again.
Wiggins finished with 14 points, and forward Perry Ellis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas (17-5, 8-1 Big 12).
Baylor (14-8, 2-7) failed to keep up the momentum from a win at No. 8 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Kansas dominated the boards 46-31 and clamped down on Baylor 3-point-marksman guard Brady Heslip in the second half. Heslip made four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes but didn’t score after halftime, ending up with 2 points.
Forward Cory Jefferson paced the Bears with 14 points.
After Kansas looked lethargic in the first half at Texas on Saturday, the Jayhawks matched Baylor’s game-opening intensity Tuesday.
Tharpe, who scored just three points against the Longhorns, drove the Jayhawks in the first 20 minutes against the Bears. He scored 14 points and dished out three assists before halftime. Tharpe’s 3-pointer with 1:05 left in the half put Kansas ahead by five.
Heslip hit three consecutive 3-pointers midway through the half, igniting an 11-4 Bears run. Jefferson made a jumper to cap the surge that gave Baylor a 24-21 lead with 5:31 left in the half. However, Baylor scored only three more points before the break.
NOTES: Kansas defeated Baylor 78-68 in Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 20. That completed the Jayhawks’ run of four consecutive wins against ranked opponents, as Baylor was rated No. 24 at the time. That game came in the middle of the Bears’ five-game conference losing streak that dropped Baylor from No. 12 to out of the top 25. … Baylor was the only team that defeated Kansas in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The Bears topped the Jayhawks in Waco last season and beat them in the Big 12 tournament two seasons ago. … Baylor G Brady Heslip was coming off a 20-point performance in which he was 6-for-13 from 3-point range in a road win at Oklahoma State. … Kansas freshman G Wayne Selden notched his third 20-point game of the season when he led the Jayhawks with 21 on Saturday at Texas.
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