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Baylor 81, Kansas 58

The SportsXchange

WACO, Texas -- Given one last chance to show some life before the postseason, the Baylor Bears roared past the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks in both teams' regular-season finale.

Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Cory Jefferson combined for 53 points to lead a Bears team that played with abandon in defeating the Jayhawks 81-58 on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

Baylor entered the game just 1-5 against ranked foes and had scarcely beaten anyone in the top half of the Big 12 standings. Short of winning the Big 12 Tournament, it appeared going into the Kansas game that Baylor would be left out of the NCAA Tournament.

There's a week remaining until Baylor finds out its postseason fate, but with Heisman Trophy-winning alum Robert Griffin III watching from behind the bench, Baylor (18-13, 9-9 Big 12) finally posted a marquee win.

Baylor guard Brady Heslip nailed a 3-pointer to cap a 12-2 Bears run early in the second half that gave Baylor a 15-point lead and the Jayhawks couldn't climb back.

For the most part, Kansas played like a team without much to gain. The Jayhawks (26-5, 14-4 Big 12) knew going into the game that they had at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season championship by virtue of Kansas State's loss to Oklahoma State earlier in the day.

Kansas might not have expected to see the Baylor team it faced Saturday, especially since this version of the Bears featured a 3-point shooting Jefferson.

After the 6-9 forward got Baylor going with a couple of dunks in the first half, Jefferson really heated up the crowd by sinking shots from beyond the arc. Jefferson made the first 3-pointer of his Baylor career midway through the first half and then kept making them.

By the time Jefferson made his third 3 in as many attempts, Baylor led the Jayhawks 46-34 with 17:04 left in the second half.

Jackson and Jefferson put on a show to ignite the home crowd in the first half as the Bears took a 37-28 lead at intermission.

Jefferson's dunk on an assist from A.J. Walton punctuated Baylor's early 10-2 run that gave the Bears a 10-4 lead.

Jackson kept the Bears going as he went on a 7-0 run by himself, hitting a jumper, a 3-pointer and going to the hoop for a basket on three straight trips down the floor to stretch Baylor's lead to eight.

Kansas's Elijah Johnson answered with a 7-0 run of his own, matching Jackson and helping the Jayhawks' attempt to keep pace with the energized Bears.

But Jefferson scored 18 points in the first half, including going 2-for-2 from 3-point range.

Jackson finished with 28 points and 10 assists.

NOTES: Despite the loss, Kansas kept its Big 12 championship streak alive. By tying Kansas State for the Big 12 regular-season title, the Jayhawks have now won nine straight conference regular-season championships. Kansas swept the season series against Kansas State and will be the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. ... Kansas fell to 19-4 all-time against Baylor and 8-2 in Waco. ... Two of Baylor's four wins against the Jayhawks came at the Big 12 Tournament, including an 81-72 victory in the conference tournament semifinals last season. ... Baylor improved to 2-5 against ranked opponents this season and snapped a five-game losing streak against ranked foes. ... Baylor celebrated senior day for starting guards Walton and Jackson and reserve forward Jacob Neubert.

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