Wednesday, February 12, 2003

No. 9 Kansas 79, Baylor 58

WACO, Texas - Once Nick Collison got going for No. 9 Kansas, the rout was on against Baylor.

The Jayhawks' leading scorer got nine of his 15 points in a game-turning run that pushed Kansas to a 79-58 win Tuesday night.

Collison drove for a short bank shot with 3:34 left in the first half, his first field goal starting a 15-0 run for Kansas (18-5, 8-1 Big 12). By the time his 3-pointer capped the spurt just 63 seconds after halftime, the Jayhawks led 46-28.

"I wanted to get myself going. I had just one point and had been sitting for a while," Collison said. "I wanted to be aggressive. I made a few plays and got going."

Kansas, which remained atop the Big 12 standing, scored the last 10 points before halftime. Collison scored on a spinning layup on a pass from Kirk Hinrich to cap the opening half with a 41-28 lead.

Kansas then scored the first five points of the second half, Collison passing to Jeff Graves for an easy layup and then hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

"That was big. It created a lot of separation and really changed the game," Collison said. "That was a mental blow for them."

The Jayhawks went on to lead by as many as 26 points.

Kansas has won five straight games since a 91-74 loss against No. 1 Arizona on Jan. 25 in which the Jayhawks blew a 20-point halftime lead.

"You can't explain those things," said Kansas coach Roy Williams. "Since then, I'm proud of the focus of our team. I'm pleased with the way they've bounced back."

Keith Langford had a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including consecutive three-point plays in the first half that put Kansas ahead to stay. Hinrich had 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

In the last three games, Hinrich has 66 points on 68 percent shooting (27-of-40).

R.T. Guinn had 15 points for Baylor (10-10, 1-8). The 6-foot-10 center hit five 3-pointers and also grabbed 10 rebounds. John Lucas added 15 points, Lawrence Roberts 12 and Matt Sayman 10.

Baylor is 0-6 against Top 25 teams this season, including a 91-42 loss Saturday at No. 5 Oklahoma that was its worst in 20 seasons. The Bears have lost nine straight against ranked teams since an 81-80 upset over Missouri last February.

"The critical part was the last part of the first half and the start of the second. We were scratching and clawing and piecemealing some offense," said Baylor coach Dave Bliss. "After that 15-0 run, we were just playing for the final score."

Baylor hit 11 3-pointers, two more than its Big 12-leading season average, but was outscored 50-12 inside the paint. The Jayhawks had a 35-28 rebounding lead.

It was two years ago, when Kansas last traveled to Waco, that the Bears upset the Jayhawks. There was never a chance for another upset once Kansas quit throwing the ball away: In the first six minutes, the Jayhawks had five turnovers, all on unforced bad passes.

"We weren't perfect today, but we got focused in the course of the game and defended," Williams said.

Baylor, despite hitting just two of its first nine shots, led 8-6 when Lawrence Roberts made a free throw with 14:11 left. The Jayhawks tied the game when Michael Lee scored an easy basket after a backdoor pass from Graves.

Kansas missed a chance to go in front when Graves missed a dunk attempt that hit the rim so hard Hinrich finally tracked it down in the backcourt before missing a 3-pointer.

Kenny Taylor's 3-pointer put Baylor back in front, but after Collison's dunk, Langford had consecutive three-point plays.

Langford switched the ball to his left hand and made an awkward layup before getting fouled and hitting the free throw to put Kansas up 13-11. After a Baylor miss, Langford drove inside, made the shot and was fouled again.

No. 13 Oklahoma State (18-3, 7-1) is the only other team with just one Big 12 loss. The Cowboys, who play at Kansas on March 1, travel to Nebraska on Wednesday night.

KANSAS (18-5)-Collison 7-14 0-0 15, Graves 3-4 0-0 6, Langford 7-10 4-5 19, Hinrich 6-11 2-2 14, Miles 3-4 2-4 9, Hawkins 0-0 0-0 0, Olson 0-0 2-2 2, Vinson 0-0 0-0 0, Lee 3-3 0-0 7, Nash 2-5 1-2 5, Moody 0-0 0-0 0, Niang 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 32-52 11-17 79.

BAYLOR (10-10)-Roberts 3-13 6-8 12, Guinn 5-11 0-2 15, Taylor 2-8 0-0 6, Sayman 2-5 5-6 10, Lucas 5-14 2-3 15, Kidd 0-1 0-0 0, Dotson 0-2 0-0 0, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Othoro 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-54 13-19 58.

Halftime-Kansas 41-28. 3-Point goals-Kansas 4-10 (Lee 1-1, Miles 1-1, Langford 1-2, Collison 1-2, Nash 0-1, Hinrich 0-3), Baylor 11-35 (Guinn 5-7, Lucas 3-11, Taylor 2-8, Sayman 1-4, Dotson 0-1, Kidd 0-1, Roberts 0-3). Fouled out-Graves. Rebounds-Kansas 35 (Graves 6), Baylor 28 (Guinn 10). Assists-Kansas 16 (Hinrich, Miles 5), Baylor 11 (Lucas 7). Total fouls-Kansas 18, Baylor 16. A-8,758.

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