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Bears upset No. 5 Kansas

Feb. 13, 2001

Baylor defeats Jayhawks 85-77 at Ferrell Center


Staff writer

The Baylor men's basketball team first accomplished the unlikely, then almost surrendered the unthinkable Monday night at the Ferrell Special Events Center. Facing the heavily favored and No. 5-ranked University of Kansas, Baylor stormed out to a 25-point halftime lead, saw it whittled to four in the second half, and eventually pulled the upset by a final score of 85-77.

Confetti fell from the rafters. Fans rushed the court. Forward Terry Black was hoisted onto shoulders and asked to cut down the nets, but he declined, saying, 'We have practice tomorrow!'

At the same time, in the visiting locker room, Kansas guard Kenny Gregory must have been kicking himself. After a loss last Monday to Iowa State University, it was Gregory who was quoted as saying, 'It's not like we lost to Baylor.'

After the game, the Bears were almost universal in pointing toward that quote as inspiration.

'A true man wouldn't say that,' guard Wendell Greenleaf said. 'I hope no one thinks Kansas had a bad night. We played an exceptional game tonight.'

Baylor improved to 16-6 overall and 5-6 in the Big 12 Conference. The Jayhawks dropped to 19-4 overall and 8-3 in league play.

'I don't know if I've ever been involved in that complete a breakdown,' Kansas head Coach Roy Williams said. 'We had six timeouts in the first half. We ran a set play and the guy went the wrong way. You could say I was stunned.'

Baylor set the tone early and often. The Bears roared out to a 10-0 lead and then watched as Greenleaf scored seven consecutive points to make the margin 17-6. And Baylor kept hitting shots.

A bucket by guard DeMarcus Minor extended the lead to 17 points at 23-6. A steal by Minor and the ensuing alley-oop dunk by Black gave Baylor a 20-point lead with 6:40 remaining in the first half. Black then put the exclamation mark on the first 20 minutes with a dunk from Greenleaf that made the score 47-22 at the break.

The Bears, however, knew Kansas would not fade.

'Kansas is not 25 points inferior to us,' Bliss said. 'We knew they'd come back.'

Yet with 12:39 left in the game, Baylor still had a 20-point lead at 56-36. It was then that Kansas started its run. An 8-2 spurt pulled the Jayhawks to within 14 with 10:48 to go. The Bears then scored four points in the next five minutes, allowing KU to close to within four at 62-58.

'We couldn't run anything in the second half,' Bliss said. 'We tried to go to the basket, but that means you shoot quickly and they got the ball back.'

Kansas stayed with four on the next two possessions, but a three-point play by center Steven Othoro provided the Bears with a seven-point lead, and Baylor then made its free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.

'I can't describe how I feel right now,' said Black, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds. 'It's something special. It's not everyday you beat Kansas.'

Greenleaf matched Black with 20 points, while Minor was the third Bear in double figures with 15 points and nine assists. Othoro also made a big impact, scoring seven points and hauling down nine boards in 26 minutes of work.

Kansas guard Kirk Hinrich led all players with 26 points.

'We didn't wilt and we made our free throws,' Bliss said. 'This gives our players a lift. It vindicates their hard work in practice.'