The Bear Necessities

KU scored 100 or more points twice last season against Baylor and Texas Tech. That's the good news.

The bad news is Baylor hung 90 points on the Jayhawks on Feb. 9, 2008 in Allen Fieldhouse, KU's most points allowed in the Bill Self era.

The Bears, who return four starters from last season, will look to keep shooting and scoring tonight when they take on Kansas on ESPN Big Monday at 8 p.m. in Waco, Texas, at the Ferrell Center.

KU (17-4, 6-0) enters the contest on a six-game winning streak, while Baylor (15-6, 2-4) hopes to rebound after dropping three straight. The Bears started the season 12-1 and were ranked as high as No. 19 in the AP poll. However, they've stumbled in Big 12 play, losing at Oklahoma, to Texas at home, and then bowed at Missouri, 89-72, on Saturday.

Baylor shot just 6 of 23 from three-point range and committed 26 fouls against the Tigers. Missouri made 30 of 36 free-throws and broke open a 40-39 halftime score. Baylor senior forward Kevin Rogers led the Bears with 18 points.

Despite their recent struggles, this is a dangerous team which beat then-No. 14 Arizona State, 87-78, on Nov. 28. The Bears are averaging an impressive 81.7 points per game and allowing 70.5. BU is second in the Big 12 with 8.7 three-point field goals made per game and also second in three-point field goal percentage (38.3).

"They're good and they can score from all five spots," KU coach Bill Self said. "They got a guy off the bench (LaceDarius Dunn) that's probably about as good a scorer as there is in our league. It will be interesting, but I'm really looking forward to it."

A guard dominated team, the Bears have five seniors and five players averaging in double figures. Baylor is led by senior guard Curtis Jerrells with 16.8 points per game. The athletic Jerrells also paces Baylor with 115 assists. He scored a game-high 30 points in BU's loss to Kansas last season.

Dunn, a sophomore guard, is next in scoring at 16.5 points per game. He is a potent long-range bomber who leads the Bears with 56 threes. Dunn scored 23 points in KU-BU's last meeting, including five three-pointers.

The 6-9 Rogers gives Baylor a presence inside, averaging 12.6 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game. He also shoots a team-best 53 percent from the field and has 20 blocked shots. Senior guard Henry Dugat (12.3 ppg and team-high 41 steals) and junior guard Tweety Carter (10.6 ppg) round out the players in double figures.

Freshman forward Quincy Acy (7.0 ppg and team-high 27 blocks) and senior center Mamadou Diene (1.7 ppg, 13 blocked shots) also contribute to the attack.

Self is especially looking forward to the game after KU barely beat Colorado on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse, 66-61. The Jayhawks shot just 41.2 percent, including 33.3 percent in the second half. Colorado, meanwhile, blistered the nets in the second half at an eye-popping 65.2 percent.

The Jayhawks also struggled against Nebraska in their 68-62 victory in Lincoln on Jan. 28.

"I'm glad it's a quick turnaround," Self said of just one day's rest between the Colorado and Baylor games. "We haven't played our best the last two games, but we've won. I don't remember a team we've had that's played great every game. But we certainly have to play better against Baylor. I think we'll be excited to play on Big Monday against a really talented team, and our guys that are returning players know they're really talented."

Self knows the Jayhawks must defend much better than they did against Colorado, especially versus the high-scoring Bears who can score outside and also beat teams off the dribble.

"We stunk defensively," Self said about the CU game. "That's as bad as we've had a team play defensively for an extended period of time like that in the second half, at least that I can remember. And then we missed shots. When we missed shots, it affected our defensive game, which is a sign of not being as disciplined as we should be."

Baylor will surely be firing from beyond the arc tonight. The Bears made 12 of 29 three-pointers last season against KU and scored 57 points in the second half.

Kansas has won 13 of the 14 meetings with Baylor, including seven straight. Kansas sports a 5-1 record in Waco with its last loss in 2001 when Baylor beat then-No. 5 KU, 85-77. Sophomore center Cole Aldrich (two points in seven minutes during the last KU-BU meeting in Allen Fieldhouse) certainly doesn't want that to happen again in this critical road matchup.

"It's going to be a real big game," Aldrich said. "It's our third road game in the Big 12 so far. It's really going to be one of those key games that we're going to have to try to play really well and run our stuff well, because if not, they're going to beat us." Top Stories