BUAD Pregame Notes
KUAD Pregame Notes
Allen Fieldhouse isn’t a place any college basketball team wants to tread unless it’s playing at the top of its game.
Coming off two straight losses, No. 12 Baylor isn’t playing anywhere near its best.
The Bears hope to stop the slide when they meet a surging Kansas squad at 8 p.m. in Lawrence in a nationally televised ESPN Big Monday game.
Following consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma, the Bears have dropped to 13-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12. Baylor is 0-10 all-time at Allen Fieldhouse, one of the toughest places to play in the country and always crammed with 16,300 fans.
…Despite the overwhelming odds of winning at Allen Fieldhouse, the Baylor players know they can turn their season around by pulling off the upset.
“Yes, it’s a great atmosphere and I don’t mind playing on the road,” Baylor senior forward Cory Jefferson said. “I like playing in front of a crowd and love playing at Kansas. If you are us and haven’t had a lot of success, it shouldn’t mean anything. We can go up and change that with the way we play.”
Baylor is 0-11 all-time in one of the most storied — and noisy — environments in college basketball. Even in the best of times, it’s a difficult chore. Baylor was ranked third nationally in January 2012 and was blown out by 18. Only one of the losses at the Phog has been by fewer than 10 points.
Now is not the best of times for Baylor.
This was arguably Drew’s deepest team in 11 seasons at Baylor, with nine players averaging more than 12 minutes a game and the bench averaging 31 points.
The return of 7-foot-1 Isaiah Austin and 6-9 Cory Jefferson gave Baylor experienced, talented front-line players that most teams just dream about.
While junior-college transfer Kenny Chery may lack the scoring explosiveness of the departed Pierre Jackson, he’s second on the team in scoring and averaging 2.7 assists for every turnover.
Baylor beat Colorado and Kentucky in nonconference play and hung tough in a loss to still-unbeaten Syracuse. Then reality hit in the Big 12.
The Bears’ effort took a vacation, especially on defense at Texas Tech. Then Oklahoma rallied in the second half to end Baylor’s 13-game home win streak.
“We came out the second half and didn’t have the same passion, and it cost us,” said Cherry, putting the blame on the players. “It’s up to us. You can’t teach effort.”
Dallas Morning News
BOTTOM LINE: Kansas has owned Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse. After nearly losing a late lead against Oklahoma State, the Jayhawks should be plenty focused on Monday night.
For the season, Kansas’ turnover percentage (20.1) ranks 275th in the country.
You can live with some mistakes from Tharpe if he’s making plays, but it’s a little more alarming that KU freshman Joel Embiid had 11 turnovers in his last two games.
…The 7-foot freshman is shooting 70 percent on his two-point field-goal attempts, but somehow hasn’t managed to take more than eight shots in KU’s last five games. For the season, Embiid has yet to take more than 10 field-goal attempts in a game. (The stat is a little skewed because Embiid has shot more than seven free throws in six games.)
…Kansas is attempting to start 5-0 in the Big 12 for the third straight season. One reason the Jayhawks have won nine straight Big 12 titles: Fast starts. The Jayhawks have started at least 5-0 in five of the last six seasons.
...Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 50-16 all-time on ESPN’s Big Monday, including a 27-1 record at home. The Jayhawks’ only loss on Big Monday at Allen Fieldhouse came against Iowa State on Feb. 5, 2001.
“I talked to him (Wiggins) on the bench today. I talk to him every day at practice. I talk to him every day when we are not at practice,” Black said. “You are going to have a bad game. We are all human. Nobody is going to be perfect. You are going to have actually more than one bad game. The thing about it is, how do you bounce back? Or if your shot isn’t falling, what other things are you doing to help the team? That’s what I talked to him about today (during OSU game). When your shot is not falling, rebound the ball, get some deflections, use your athleticism, do some other things you are capable of, because he’s a very talented player.”
Black scored eight points off 4-of-5 shooting while playing nine minutes the first half and none the second. He dunked hard after storming down the lane and accepting a pass from junior point guard Naadir Tharpe. That dunk gave KU a 29-15 lead, to the delight of the fans, who forced OSU coach Travis Ford to call a timeout.
Black was asked if he envisioned crowd-pleasing plays like that when he decided to transfer from Memphis to KU for his senior season.
“When I transferred, I was looking at the big picture,” the 6-9 forward said. “One dunk doesn’t win a lot of games. My main goal was to come to a program where we had an opportunity to win big. You see what we’re doing right now (4-0 in league with wins in seven of the past eight games).”
Of point guard Tharpe, who had 21 points Saturday after scoring 23 versus Iowa State on Monday, Black said: “Fantastic. A guy like him, being one of our leaders ... he’s been in the program awhile. We expect him to step up to the plate like that. Really and truly, we wouldn’t have won the game (vs. OSU) without him. We need him every night; every night, the same thing.”
An unsung hero Saturday might have been sophomore forward Jamari Traylor, who had nine points and three boards in 19 minutes. Black and Traylor like being on the court at the same time.
“It’s chemistry,” Black said with a smile. “Me and Jamari are cool and have a relationship beyond the court. We’re from similar backgrounds, understand each other. It helps our relationship and actually shows and displays itself on the court, our feeling for one another.”
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