Jan. 16, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Tyshawn Taylor coasted down the right side of the lane, lofted a pass over the Baylor defense, then stood back and watched as Thomas Robinson took to the air, grabbed the ball with his right hand and threw it down with rim-rattling authority.
It was that kind of night for Taylor and Robinson.
For Kansas, too.
Robinson had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Taylor matched a career-high with 28 points and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks rolled to a 92-74 victory Monday night, ending the third-ranked Bears' perfect start and proving once more that the road to the Big 12 title goes through Kansas.
"I think we made a big statement tonight," Taylor said. "I told my team with like, 11 minutes left, that we have to make a statement. I don't know if people are sleeping on us - they know we're good - but I don't know if people knew what we could do."
A trendy pick to end the Jayhawks' seven-year stranglehold on the conference, Baylor (17-1, 4-1) had been riding the longest winning streak in school history to its best start ever.
It was the first loss for Baylor in football or men's and women's basketball since Oct. 29 - a span of 40 games.
"Start with their leadership. Thomas Robinson showed why he's a player of the year candidate. Tyshawn Taylor was outstanding," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Early on we didn't have some success in the paint, got away from it. From there we couldn't stop them all night long."
Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson added 11 points each for the Jayhawks (15-3, 5-0), who won their 16th straight game at Allen Fieldhouse and 10th in a row at home over the Bears.
Kansas is 17-2 against them all-time.
Baylor's start came undone in one of college basketball's premier venues.
"Loudest place we've ever played. Their fans got into the game," said Perry Jones III, who had 18 points to lead Baylor. "We still tried to stay together and not let the noise affect us."
Quincy Miller added 17 points, Quincy Acy had 14 and Pierre Jackson had 11 points and 11 assists, but the long and lean Bears were dominated inside and had no answer for the combination of Robinson and Taylor, one of the best inside-outside tandems in the nation.
Robinson overpowered the Baylor front line with an array of dunks and short-range jumpers, while Taylor hit four 3-pointers and doled out six assists. The outcome left No. 1 Syracuse and No. 12 Murray State as the only undefeated teams in Division I.
"We're one of the best teams, but we're five games in," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "That would have been a big deal for us and our aspirations in the league to not win tonight."
Facing its fourth top-10 opponent of the season, the veteran Jayhawks swarmed the younger Bears with pressure from the opening tip, making life miserable on both ends of the court.
Robinson provided the early boost, scoring eight of his 12 first-half points in the opening 6-plus minutes. The run included that dazzling one-handed dunk off an alley-oop feed from Taylor that set Twitter ablaze and generated a roar inside Allen Fieldhouse that could be heard in Kansas City.
"He pressed the up button and he went and got it," Taylor said with a grin.
The Bears answered the first salvo with a 16-5 run of their own.
Jones started it with a jumper, and Gary Franklin curled in a 3-pointer for his only points of the game. By the time Jackson knocked down another 3 and Acy added a basket inside, Baylor had pulled ahead 27-22 and Self asked for a timeout.
It sure seemed to settle down the Jayhawks.
Robinson scored on a nifty spin move inside and Jeff Withey added two free throws to start a 17-2 run to end the half. Taylor scored 11 of the final 13 points, including a 3 from the top of the key with Jackson staring him down in the closing seconds to make it 39-29.
"It's going to come down to the best players on each team making plays. That's what happened," Taylor said. "We came out in attack mode, and kept it on all game."
Jackson hit a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 39-32 in the opening minute of the second half, and Brady Heslip added another 3 a couple of minutes later to make it 43-37 with 17:32 to go.
That was as close as Baylor got.
Kansas scored on its next seven possessions, another dunk by Robinson pushing the lead to 59-42 with 13:04 left. The lead swelled to 19 when Taylor scored on an acrobatic scooping layup, missed the ensuing foul shot, and then hit a 3-pointer from the wing after Kansas got the offensive rebound.
Robinson's basket with 6:54 left made it a 20-point game.
"We missed some jump shots they got some run-outs, we didn't get back. They do such a good job in transition in this building," Drew said. "They feed off the atmosphere."
By the time Robinson checked out with just over a minute to go, the crowd that had jammed the Jayhawks' historic field house to the rafters - and generated crowd noise registering at 114 decibels at the tip - was on their feet and giving him a standing ovation.
It was the first time an unbeaten team had come to Kansas during Big 12 play. The last time it happened with a current league member was on Jan. 21, 1986, when Oklahoma came into the game 17-0.
Just like Baylor, the Sooners went home 17-1.
"Early on they were good, right now they're even better," Drew said, "and I think the nation saw how tough they are. But that's what's great about this league. Night in and night out, you're going to face good teams, and if you don't play well and they play well, you've got no chance."