Kansas didn’t have one of its best performances its last time out, but it still managed to remain undefeated in Big 12 play.
The 21st-ranked Jayhawks, back in the Top 25 for the first time in seven weeks, look to play better Monday and continue their dominance over Baylor, which is trying to avoid its fourth straight loss.
Kansas (17-4, 6-0) and second-ranked Oklahoma are the only two undefeated teams in the Big 12, but the Jayhawks nearly lost that distinction Saturday. They built a 21-point second-half lead over Colorado, but the Buffaloes cut that deficit to two with 6 minutes remaining.
Kansas was up by just three with less than a minute to go before Sherron Collins scored his team’s last four points to lift the Jayhawks to a 66-61 victory. That vaulted them into the poll Monday for the first time since Dec. 14.
“Fortunately, we didn’t lose,” said Collins, who suffered through one of his worst shooting games of the year.
Collins averaged 20.2 points and shot 12-of-23 from beyond the 3-point arc in his first five league games, but finished with 11 points and went 1-of-10 on 3-pointers Saturday.
Collins wasn’t the only player who struggled against Colorado. The Jayhawks shot 41.2 percent from the field and made five of 21 3s after averaging 76.6 points on 55.1 percent shooting - 46.2 percent from beyond the arc - in their first five conference games.
“We made some boneheaded plays and that’s frustrating to me because we’re better than that,” coach Bill Self said. “But we’ll take it and we certainly have our work cut out for us on Monday.”
Kansas, off to its best Big 12 start since winning its first 10 conference games in 2004-05, hasn’t had much trouble with Baylor (15-6, 3-4) lately. The Jayhawks have won seven straight over the Bears since an 85-77 loss in Waco on Feb. 12, 2001, and 13 of the last 14 meetings.
Kansas defeated Baylor 100-90 in Lawrence last season, as Collins scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Baylor is in the midst of a funk, dropping three in a row after winning three of its first four Big 12 contests. The Bears lost 89-72 to Missouri on Saturday, as the Tigers outscored Baylor 21-5 over the final 5:31.
“I think we’d like to go back and do the last five minutes over,” Bears coach Scott Drew said.
Curtis Jerrells, averaging a team-high 16.8 points, was held to five on 2-of-10 shooting and turned the ball over a career-high nine times. He scored 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting in the loss to the Jayhawks last season.
Two of Baylor’s losses during its skid have come against then-No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Texas. The Bears are 1-3 versus ranked teams this season, and have three wins in their last 17 games against Top 25 opponents.