Today was the day for upsets in college basketball. We saw Florida going down, Mercer losing at home, Kansas State losing on the road and this evening we saw the Kansas Jayhawks getting spanked by the Baylor Bears.
All Kansas had to do was win this game and they would become the Big 12 outright champion, but instead they get to share it with their nemesis Kansas State. I don’t even think the Jayhawk team that has been playing great the past few weeks showed up.
The Bears played tough and were in control from the tip-off to the final buzzer and they never looked back. They needed this win to redeem their season and even try to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney. Beating the number 4 team in the nation by a large margin really solidified their season. Kansas was coming into Waco with an impressive winning streak there but instead were asleep or played like they didn’t even care to win. Pierre Jackson wasn’t going to let the Jayhawks win in his house and showed that by his performance on the court.
He talked his talk and walked his walk impressively Saturday evening. He hit 11 of 13 shots, good for 28 points with 10 assists and six rebounds. He was four boards shy of a triple double. He played phenomenally and gave the Bears a victory worth remembering. The Bears handed the Jayhawks their second-worst loss in the 10-year Bill Self era.
Not only did Jackson play with lots of energy, but his teammate Cory Jefferson, who had never hit a three in his career, went 3-for-3 from three and scored 25 points with seven rebounds and three blocks. Jefferson was determined to not let the Jayhawks celebrate a victory to win the Big 12 crown outright. The Jayhawks played the worst defense Saturday evening that they have played all season. They weren’t aggressive enough to stop the hot shooting of the Bears, especially Jackson and Jefferson.
For Jefferson this was his coming out party and he has never shot this great all season. That consistent shooting and confidence is what the Bears have needed all season. What a game to come out and shot the rock with ease making sure the Jayhawks would remember his name.
The Jayhawks are now sitting back and wondering what in the world happened. In an interview with kusports.com, Kansas coach Bill Self had this to say about this loss, “They were terrific. They totally dominated the game, adding “hell no” with a laugh when asked if he thought Jefferson could shoot that well. “I’m not Joe Lunardi (of bracketology fame) … Baylor needed this game. They got it. They deserve to be in the tournament. I think this will put them in the field.”
This game should put them in the field of 68 teams since they dominated the Jayhawks inside and outside the paint. The one bright spot for the Jayhawks is how Perry Ellis and Ben McLemore played. Ellis came into the game and helped the Jayhawks inch a little closer to the Bears. His performance showed us what we can expect from him in the games in the Big 12 tourney and in the Big Dance. McLemore also played terrific tonight in this losing effort. McLemore passed Danny Manning (496) to become the all-time leading freshman scorer in Kansas history with 517 points during the regular season.
Thanks to the Jayhawks for being brain-dead, the Bears hopefully will get a golden ticket to the NCAA tourney. Kansas did make it nine straight Big 12 championships but there was no celebration in the locker room after the loss. Kansas will be the number one seed in the Big 12 tourney which starts this Wednesday. This was a great game for the Bears and head coach Scott Drew and now they get to play Oklahoma State on Thursday. This Big 12 tourney is wide open now and if the Bears play like they did today, they could win it.