WACO, Texas (AP)—While no longer undefeated, No. 6 Kansas stayed perfect in the Big 12 with a record-breaking game.
The Jayhawks put a surprising loss to Villanova behind them in a hurry.
Wayne Simien scored seven of his 18 points in a game-opening 15-2 run, and Kansas set a school record with 16 3-pointers in an 86-66 win over Baylor on Tuesday night.
“I visibly noticed a change in attitude,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “It was a refocused group. The whipping to Villanova made this game a very big game, and I thought we came out and played accordingly.”
The 83-62 loss at Villanova on Saturday knocked Kansas (15-1, 5-0) from the ranks of the undefeated. The misery of their trip got extended when they got stuck in Philadelphia an extra day because of the weekend blizzard that hit the Northeast.
Baylor (9-7, 1-4) never got closer than seven points after the opening spurt. And the Jayhawks kept taking advantage of a zone defense, first going inside to Simien and then outside for the long-range shots.
“The middle of the zone was very vulnerable,” Simien said. “Once we got the entry pass into there … there were easy shots for the post guys and then the deep 3s for our other guys.”
Simien didn’t attempt a 3-pointer, but the four other Kansas players who scored in double figures made at least three 3s each.
Jeff Hawkins, trying to work his way back into the playing rotation, was 5-for-5 on 3s for 15 points in just 13 minutes.
Hawkins was suspended from the team for unspecified rules violations during the offseason, then relegated to the end of the bench. The junior, who played in 31 games last season, had been on the court just 13 minutes all season before playing 17 against Villanova.
“He’s gone from not even being on the team, to serious minutes and making shots. That helps everybody,” said Keith Langford, who scored 17 points.
“He’s been in the doghouse a couple of months, but kept a good attitude,” said Self, adding that Hawkins has earned the chance to play more.
J.R. Giddens added 14 points for Kansas, and Aaron Miles had 11.
Giddens hit a 3-pointer with 5:28 left that made it 79-55. It was the 15th 3 for the Jayhawks, tying the school record set against North Carolina State in December 1994.
Langford hit the record 16th 3 with 1:45 left. The Jayhawks were 16-of-27 from beyond the arc.
“We probably put too much focus on guarding the high post and they exposed that weakness,” said Baylor freshman guard Aaron Bruce, who had 23 points.
After Simien made the first two baskets in the game, the Jayhawks had little trouble. Baylor has lost 14 straight against ranked opponents and is 1-10 against Kansas,
“After the Villanova loss, we knew they would be focused,” Bears coach Scott Drew said. “We had to be in the game the first five minutes, and we didn’t do it. Tonight showed our inexperience. Kansas had all the answers.”
No. 13 Oklahoma (5-0), which escaped Waco with a 65-61 win 10 days earlier, and Kansas are the only teams still undefeated in the Big 12.
Baylor cut the deficit to 54-45 on two free throws by Tim Bush with 13:40 left. But Simien had consecutive baskets to start a 10-1 run and the Bears never got closer than 12 after that.
Tommy Swanson, the only Baylor letterman back from last season, added 17 points and Tim Bush had 14.
Giddens had 11 points in the first half, hitting three of his four 3-pointers.
After Giddens missed the rim on a 3-point attempt with about 7 minutes left, Baylor students chanted “air ball” every time he touched the ball. That was until he made two long 3s from the top of the key in a 45-second span late in the half for a 38-24 lead.
In between those 3s, Miles had a steal and then made both free throws after an intentional foul, when Bruce grabbed his shirt from behind.
The chants then changed to “Vill-a-nova” but none of it affected the Jayhawks.
Kansas had a 48-29 lead after a 3 by Miles just 2 minutes into the second half. The Jayhawks led by as many as 24 points.