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Kansas 61, Baylor 44

The SportsXchange

LAWRENCE, Ks. -- Baylor brought in a 7-foot-1 center Monday who figured to contest Kansas inside.

That, plus a shifty point guard, a deadly 3-point gunner and 3-0 conference mark that made the Bears the early leaders in the Big 12.

No. 4 Kansas, however, was hardly deterred by the threat Baylor posed. The Jayhawks asserted tough defensive pressure early and never let up, smothering the Bears, 61-44, in Allen Fieldhouse.

The win was the 14th straight for Kansas, which climbed to 15-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12, a conference with two other unbeaten teams that stand 2-0 in the league, Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Despite the presence of 7-1 freshman Isaiah Austin underneath, senior Pierre Jackson running the offense and long-range shooter Brady Heslip, the Bears never caught fire. They were limited to 23.2 percent shooting as the Jayhawks forced 14 turnovers and blocked 13 shots.

The only scare for Kansas came with just 2:44 remaining when freshman sensation Ben McLemore landed wrong and twisted his right ankle. He lay on the floor for a long stretch before getting up and limping to the locker room.

McLemore paced the Jayhawks with 17 points, going 4 of 5 in the second half. In addition to a 3-pointer he made with 3:55 left, McLemore added a highlight jam at the 3:31 mark off a lob feed from Elijah Johnson. Johnson added 12 points and Travis Releford had 10 for Kansas.

Baylor, which had a three-game win streak snapped, was led by Austin with 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Jackson added 10, but missed 10 of 12 shots after coming in as the Big 12 scoring leader with a 19.2-point average. The Bears' 44-point output was their lowest of the season, coming off a 51-40 win over TCU.

Baylor could not cope with the Kansas defense throughout the first half. The Bears made just 6 of 27 shots (22 percent) as the Jayhawks bolted to a 33-20 halftime lead.

The Bears scored the first basket 20 seconds into the game, then did not connect for another field goal until the 12:56 mark.

The Jayhawks combined a sticky man-to-man defense with solid pressure in the backcourt to force eight first-half turnovers. They also managed 10 blocks, with five players getting two apiece. Ben McLemore paced Kansas with eight first-half points.

NOTES: Baylor started 3-0 in Big 12 play with victories against three in-state conference rivals. That run boosted BU's win streak against Texas rivals to 14. ... Kansas senior Travis Releford entered the game 27 of 34 from the field in his previous six games. ... KU coach Bill Self entered 14-0 in Big Monday games played at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas came in 9-0 against Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse and 10-0 in games played in Lawrence. ... More than 20 NBA scouts attended the game.
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