No. 15 Baylor surges ahead to knock off No. 7 Kansas as Big 12 race tightens

Jayden Nunn led Baylor to its fourth straight home win over Kansas on Saturday afternoon in Waco.

Scott Drew picked up yet another marquee win on Saturday afternoon.

No. 15 Baylor surged ahead late to knock off No. 7 Kansas, 82-74, on Saturday in what was easily the Bears’ biggest win of the season. It also marked just the latest slip for Kansas, which has now lost back-to-back games and has clinched its worst conference record of the Bill Self era.

Though the game was tight early on, and Baylor managed just a single point advantage heading into the locker room at halftime, the Bears set the tone immediately with a ridiculous dunk from Yves Missi.

It wasn’t until a big 13-3 run midway through the second half, though, that the Bears finally pulled ahead. Jayden Nunn accounted for seven of those points from Baylor, and he picked up a huge assist after a block from Missi sparked it early on the other end.

While Kansas did cut it back to single digits multiple times down the stretch, it was too late. The Bears simply held on to grab the eight-point win, which marked their fourth straight win over Kansas in Waco.

Hunter Dickinson led Kansas with 20 points and five rebounds while shooting 9-of-11 from the field. Kevin McCullar added 20 points, too, but went 0-of-5 from behind the arc. The Jayhawks shot just 4-of-12 from the 3-point line as a team. Kansas, now at 19-6 on the season, has lost two straight after dropping an eight-point game to BYU at home earlier this week. The Jayhawks are just 9-7 in Big 12 play, and are in danger of slipping hard in the standings ahead of the conference tournament.

Rayj Dennis led Baylor with 19 points and 10 assists. Nunn finished with 18 points, and Missi finished with 17 points. The Bears shot nearly 56% from the field in the win, and out-rebounded Kansas by nine.

The Bears, after losing two straight games to ranked opponents, have now won back-to-back games with Saturday’s win — which is easily its best of the season. Baylor came just shy of knocking off Kansas in Lawrence last month, too.

While No. 1 Houston still leads the Big 12 and No. 8 Iowa State sits just a game behind the Cougars, Baylor now has the edge for the No. 3 seed in the conference — which should come in handy come conference tournament time in Kansas City later this month. The Bears trail Houston by 2.5 games as of Saturday afternoon. Kansas will host Kansas State before traveling to No. 1 Houston next weekend. Baylor will host Texas and then close its regular season out at Texas Tech next Saturday.

Though it’s still a wide-open conference, given how great the league is once again this season, Self’s group seems to be slumping at the worst possible time. Without at least one win in their final two games, they could have a quick exit both at the T-Mobile Center and from the NCAA tournament later this month.

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