Kansas vs. Baylor score, takeaways: No. 2 Bears fall for first time this season, but remain a No. 1 seed

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Baylor put a historic winning streak on the line in late February against Kansas last season and saw it crumble against their chief Big 12 nemesis. Fast forward a season and the No. 2 Bears are experiencing deja vu after their undefeated run came to an end Saturday night in a 71-58 loss to the No. 17 Jayhawks at Phog Allen Fieldhouse that leaves Gonzaga as college basketball's last undefeated team.

The Bears (18-1, 10-1 Big 12) got off to slow starts in both halves and never recovered in the second half against a Kansas team that dominated the boards and the paint. Jayhawks center David McCormack played a massive role in that equation, scoring 20 points in a redemptive effort following a poor outing in the first meeting won by Baylor last month.

Kansas (18-8, 12-6 Big 12) has now won six of its last seven games with only a nonconference game against UTEP on Thursday left on its schedule before postseason play begins. The Jayhawks entered the night as a projected No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm, but the victory is a feather in the cap for a program that endured some struggles this season.

The Bears will remain a projected No. 1 seed but will slip to the No. 3 overall spot with Michigan taking over the No. 2 overall spot in Palm's projected bracket. The Wolverines improved to 18-1 overall and 13-1 in the Big Ten with a win over Indiana on Saturday as they have have won five straight since returning from a 23-day break between games earlier this month. 

Baylor still appears to be searching for its rhythm after returning from a 21-day break with a narrow victory over a bad Iowa State team on Tuesday. The Bears' struggles in that game turned out to be an accurate forecast of the issues they faced Saturday. Just like last season, when Baylor carried a 23-game winning streak into it second game with Kansas, the Jayhawks avoided a sweep and spoiled Baylor's stretch of dominance.

Still sluggish

Baylor fell behind 13-6 to begin the game and then allowed Kansas to begin the second half on a 10-3 run. In the first half, the Bears battled back to take a 30-26 lead at one point. They whittled their deficit to 45-42 at the 12:41 mark of the second half on a 4-point play from MaCio Teague but never got any closer. Unlike on Tuesday, when Baylor fell behind 32-15 against Iowa State, the Bears could not will their way to a victory. That was doubtlessly a reflection of the competition level, and it raises questions about how the Bears might fare in their final three games.

Still ahead for Baylor is games against West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, all of whom are well-positioned to earn NCAA Tournament bids. There isn't an easy game in that stretch that Baylor can use to get things right before the postseason begins.

McCormack's revenge

When Baylor and Kansas met for the first time this season on Jan. 18, McCormack came in averaging 20.3 points per game over his previous three outings in what constituted an offensive outburst for the mercurial junior. But when it came to square off with the Bears, McCormack's hot streak ended as he scored just six points in a 77-69 Baylor victory.

He came for redemption in the first half of the rematch, racking up 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the opening frame to help put the Jayhawks ahead 33-30 halftime. Though he pulled down just three rebounds, McCormack helped Kansas dominate the game physically. Kansas outrebounded Baylor 48-28 and outscored the Bears 42-32 in the paint.

Butler's disappearance

When Jared Butler hit a layup for his first points of the game with 10:14 left, it cut Baylor's deficit to 52-47 and felt like the type of bucket that could get the Bears' leading scorer going. Butler ultimately remained a non-factor, though, as he finished with a season-low five points. The 6-foot-3 guard entered averaging 20 points over Baylor's last six games, dating back to his 30-point outburst in the January win over Kansas. With the Bears getting just five total points from their bench Saturday, there simply wasn't enough firepower to overcome the scoring void that Butler left.

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KANSAS +4.5, o142
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KANSAS 4.5, O/U 142

Season Leaders

points
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J. Butler 16.7 PTS, 4.8 AST, 3.3 REB
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J. Butler 16.7 PTS, 4.8 AST, 3.3 REB
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O. Agbaji 14.2 PTS, 1.9 AST, 3.7 REB
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O. Agbaji 14.2 PTS, 1.9 AST, 3.7 REB
assists
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D. Mitchell 14.0 PTS, 5.5 AST, 2.7 REB
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D. Mitchell 14.0 PTS, 5.5 AST, 2.7 REB
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M. Garrett 10.9 PTS, 3.7 AST, 4.6 REB
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M. Garrett 10.9 PTS, 3.7 AST, 4.6 REB
rebounds
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M. Vital 5.6 PTS, 1.4 AST, 6.7 REB
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M. Vital 5.6 PTS, 1.4 AST, 6.7 REB
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J. Wilson 11.8 PTS, 2.0 AST, 7.9 REB
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J. Wilson 11.8 PTS, 2.0 AST, 7.9 REB
Live updates
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@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:29 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:24 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:22 AM

What a night for David McCormack. His 20 points were the difference. Marcus Garrett also pitched in 14 points and 7 boards on his Senior Night.

February 28, 2021, 3:15 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:13 AM

It's going to happen. Baylor will fall to 18-1.

February 28, 2021, 3:11 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:09 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:09 AM

Oddly enough, Baylor has turned it over just three times, compared to 13 KU turnovers. No dice...the interior dominance has been too much for Baylor to overcome.

February 28, 2021, 3:06 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 3:06 AM

Scott Drew is NOT a fan of the block call on Davion Mitchell that sends Christian Braun to the line for 2 made FTs. 65-56 Kansas.

February 28, 2021, 3:05 AM

Going to take something miraculous from Baylor to keep its undefeated season alive here in the final four minutes. 63-52 Kansas. Gonzaga may soon be the nation's last unbeaten team.

February 28, 2021, 3:02 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 2:58 AM

Neither team has gotten much from their bench, but it's especially noticeable for Baylor. Flagler hit an early 3 but has been quiet since. Mayer and Tchamwa Tchatchoua have been quiet as well.

February 28, 2021, 2:53 AM

Sheesh. McCormack is up to 20. He's absolutely been the difference as KU has pretty much dominated the paint.

February 28, 2021, 2:49 AM
@KUHoops via Twitter
February 28, 2021, 2:48 AM

MaCio Teague is keeping Baylor in this game. Hits another 3 to make it 54-49. Bears would be out of it if not for his timely buckets here in the second half.

February 28, 2021, 2:44 AM

Didn't have Dajuan Harris on my list of potential impact players, but his little 5-point spurt gets Kansas back out in front 50-42 just when Teague appeared to have changed the momentum in Baylor's favor.

February 28, 2021, 2:37 AM

MaCio Teague! Another corner 3. This one is 4-point play. That's got the Bears fired up. Buckle up, folks. 45-42 KU nearing the 12-minute mark.

February 28, 2021, 2:34 AM

The pace has ground to a halt. 43-35 KU and neither team doing much scoring. And just as that sentence is typed, Teague knocks down a corner 3. Huge shot for Baylor.

February 28, 2021, 2:33 AM

Soooo a Matthew Mayer airball takes us to the u16 timeout with Kansas up 41-33. Baylor looking sluggish to start the second half just like it did to start the first. On a positive note for Baylor, David McCormack has finally missed a shot.

February 28, 2021, 2:25 AM
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