WACO, Texas — Udoka Azubuike had 23 points and a career-high 19 rebounds and No. 3 Kansas held on to beat No. 1 Baylor 64-61 on Saturday, snapping the Bears’ Big 12-record 23-game winning streak and likely ending their five-week hold on the No. 1 spot in the AP poll.
The Bears are the sixth No. 1 team to lose this season. Their streak ends with one more win than Kansas — who won 22 straight in 1996-97, the Big 12’s inaugural season.
The Jayhawks (24-3, 13-1 Big 12) have won 12 in a row since their first-ever home loss to Baylor on Jan. 11. They had a 10-point lead with 6 1/2 minutes left but had to hold off Baylor’s late charge.
Isaiah Moss, who had 11 points, made two free throws for Kansas with 7.9 seconds left before a timeout. The Bears (24-2, 13-1) had one more shot, but Butler’s 3-pointer from beyond the top of the key ricocheted off the front of the iron as time expired.
If both teams finish 17-1 in the conference, a random draw will determine who the No. 1 seed is in the Big 12 tournament.
Butler and MaCio Teague had hit consecutive 3-pointers in the final half-minute to get Baylor within 62-61.
Devon Dotson added 13 points for the Jayhawks, who shot 51% (27 of 53) against a tenacious Baylor defense that held them to 55 points in a 12-point loss last month.
Butler had 19 points to lead the Bears, while Freddie Gillespie and Matthew Mayer each had 10.
The sellout crowd of 10,627 at the Ferrell Center, already in a frenzy after ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast on the court leading up to the late-morning tip, was roaring after Teague returned to the lineup by swishing a 3-pointer on the game’s first shot and Gillespie making it 5-0.
Marcus Garrett then had seven points in a 14-2 spurt for Kansas, which never trailed again. Baylor hadn’t been behind by more than two points in any of its previous 12 home games. The Bears trailed 14-7 before Butler hit a 3-pointer and then had a long pass ahead to Mayer, the lanky, high-energy sophomore, for a layup.
Mayer then had a three-point play after going inside and drawing a goaltending call from Azubuike while being fouled, and his 3-pointer with 9:21 left tied the game at 18. Kansas regained the lead with six points in a row, including a layup and another putback by Azubuike, who later in the half had back-to-back impressive dunks for nine-point leads.
Azubuike bowed back his shoulders and let out a shout after his powerful slam over the 6-foot-9 Gilliespie. The Jayhawks’ next basket was also a powerful dunk by Azubuike that made it 32-23.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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