Baylor Game Preview

Baylor Game Preview

News, notes and quotes on No. 8 Kansas' matchup with No. 24 Baylor on ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse while believing freshman Andrew Wiggins will bounce back in grand fashion after being held to a season-low three points in KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

News, notes and quotes on No. 8 Kansas' matchup with No. 24 Baylor on ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse while believing freshman Andrew Wiggins will bounce back in grand fashion after being held to a season-low three points in KU's 80-78 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday.

The Jayhawks are 13-4 and 4-0 in Big 12.

SCOUTING BAYLOR

Baylor (13-4, 1-3 Big 12) has opened conference play losing three of four games, including two straight defeats, after posting an 12-1 record in the nonconference season. BU, which lost to No. 25 Oklahoma, 66-64, at home Saturday, has also lost to Big 12 foes Texas Tech (82-72) and Iowa State (87-72), both road setbacks, while beating TCU at home, 88-62.

The Bears, whose first loss this season came to Syracuse, 74-67, on Nov. 27, own impressive nonconference victories over Colorado (72-60) on Nov. 8 and Kentucky (67-62) on Dec. 6.

Baylor is a deep squad with nine players averaging over 12 minutes per game. Senior forward Cory Jefferson leads the attack with 13.1 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Kenny Chery is next in scoring (11.9 ppg, No. 4 in league with 5.1 apg), followed by senior guard Brady Heslip (10.8 ppg, No. 2 in Big 12 with 45.5 three-point field goal percentage and 2.7 threes made per game), sophomore center Isaiah Austin (10.4 ppg, No. 2 in league with 2.8 bpg) and sophomore forward Taurean Prince (8.5 ppg).

Others contributing to the attack are sophomore forward Rico Gathers (7.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg), senior guard Gary Franklin (6.6 ppg, 42 assists) and junior forward Royce O'Neale (6.1 ppg, 48 assists).

Baylor averages 77.7 points and has a +10.9 scoring margin. BU, which averages 40.1 rebounds per game, leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +9.7. The Bears also lead the league in three-point field goal percentage (39.3) and rank second in assists (15.8). BU shoots 48.1 percent from the field and 67.2 percent at the free throw line, while holding foes to 40.9 percent shooting and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Coach Scott Drew is 191-142 in his 11th season at Baylor and 211-153 in his 12th season overall.

BOTH TEAMS HUNGRY

KU coach Bill Self knows Baylor will be determined after two straight losses and coming off the OU defeat Saturday, which snapped its 13-game winning streak at the Ferrell Center. That was the second-longest streak in arena history.

But KU is eager to play again after almost blowing a 17-point halftime lead to Oklahoma State two days ago as the Cowboys came charging back in the second half and had a chance to win the game at the buzzer before Frank Mason blocked Le'Bryan Nash's shot. OSU shot 8-of-16 from three-point range in the final 20 minutes and outscored KU 18-2 on fastbreak points for the game.

"We'll get a hungry team, but they should get a hungry team, too," Self said Saturday. "We're not leaving out here happy, so hopefully we'll come out and give as aggressive effort (against Baylor) as we've given all year long."

RIM PROTECTOR

With his eight blocked shots against the Cowboys, KU freshman center Joel Embiid broke his own school freshman record, tied the Big 12 freshman record for all contests and broke the mark for a conference game. Embiid, whose 2.9 blocks per game leads the league, is third on the Kansas single-season freshman list with 49 blocks.

Embiid was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week by averaging a double-double (14.5 ppg, 10 rpg) and adding 13 blocks in KU's victories over top-10 teams Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Against OSU, he became the first freshman in Big 12 history to have 10 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and eight blocked shots in a game.

"Every game I have the same mindset out there (to) block every shot," Embiid said after the OSU contest. "I think I was lucky I got a few blocks."

HEAD OF THE CLASS

It's still way early in the Big 12 schedule, but KU is on top with its 4-0 record. K-State is in second place at 4-1. The Jayhawks, though, are off to a good start winning against three straight top-25 teams, with BU another top-25 team tonight.

Don't bet that Self is keeping a close eye on the league standings.

"There's so much room to get better," Self said. "I think the whole goal is getting better, and if you do that, the wins and losses take care of themselves. I'm not going to talk about having a lead or anything like that because it's too early. It's like being ahead in baseball after the second inning. It doesn't matter right now. We just got to make sure we continue to get better every day."

THE SERIES

The KU-Baylor series dates back to 1951 with Kansas leading 19-4 all time. BU has won two of the last three meetings: 81-72 in the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo., and 81-58 in the regular-season finale for both teams last season in Waco, Texas. KU is 11-0 against Baylor in games played in Lawrence, including a 10-0 record in Allen Fieldhouse.

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