Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks will try to
take one step closer to their third tournament title in a row, as they battle
the fourth-seeded Baylor Bears in the semifinal round of the Big 12 Conference
Tournament at the Sprint Center.
Baylor struggled against the Jayhawks once again this season. The Bears lost
both of their regular season matchups with Kansas by double-digit margins.
First, the Jayhawks spoiled Baylor's 17-0 start on Jan. 16 with a 92-74 win at
Allen Fieldhouse. The Bears has their lowest scoring output when they failed
to return the favor and fell 68-54 to Kansas on their home floor. In 2009 the
programs had their only previous meeting in the Big 12 Tournament, the then
No. 9-seed Baylor upset the top-seeded Jayhawks.
Coach Scott Drew has transformed the Bears (26-6) from a Big-12 bottom dweller
into one of the top program's in the nation. Drew led the team to a school-
record 12 conference victories this season. The 12th-ranked Bears avenged a
regular season loss and defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, 82-74, in their
postseason debut in Thursday's quarterfinal round. Baylor had a tremendous
offensive performance versus KSU, as it made 56.9 percent of its field goal
attempts. The Bears improved to 12-3 in games played away from home with the
Baylor will hope Perry Jones III can continue the stellar play he exhibited on
Thursday versus Kansas State in his Big 12 Conference Tournament debut. Jones
III made 11-of-14 of his field goal attempts to score a career-high 31 points
and added 11 rebounds to pace the team. It was the third-straight double-
double for BU's star sophomore, who was suspended for last year's tourney.
Jones III was not the only productive player for Baylor on Thursday. Brady
Heslip netted 15 points while Pierre Jackson scored 13 points and handed out
eight assists. A.J. Walton got into the mix with 11 points and four steals and
Quincy Acy added 10 points.
Although Baylor's improvement has put it near the top of the conference, it
will need to knock off Kansas (27-5) to become the king of the hill. The
third-ranked Jayhawks reeled off eight victories in a row to close out the
regular season to earn the top-seed in the tourney and finish with an
impressive 16-2 record in league action. Coach Bill Self guided his team to an
83-66 victory over the ninth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies in the quarterfinal round
on Thursday. The Jayhawks began their postseason off by draining a season-high
61.4 percent of their shots from the floor versus the Aggies. Kansas also
played well defensively, as it held A&M under 40 percent shooting.
The 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson did not disappoint versus
Texas A&M, as he recorded his NCAA leading 23rd double-double of the season
with 19 points and 10 rebounds. While senior guard Tyshawn Taylor added 16
points to score in double figures for the 29th time this season, Elijah
Johnson set a new career high with 26 points. Jeff Withey, who averages a Big
12 leading 3.3 blocks per game, swatted four shots to frustrate Texas A&M
The Sports Network