Big 12: Baylor takes down Kansas, Missouri puts away Texas
Perry Jones III and Baylor held off No. 3 Kansas for a 81-72 victory on Friday
Jones III finished with 18 points and Brady Heslip drilled a pair of key 3-pointers
Mizzou routed Texas to setup a showdown against Baylor for the Big 12 title
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Baylor heard all the pundits clamoring for one more Kansas-Missouri matchup, this time in the Big 12 tournament title game. It didn't matter those teams needed to win in the semifinals. The tantalizing rematch seemed to be fate.
"You never want to get disrespected," the Bears' Quincy Acy said, "so we came in with the mindset this week to win every game."
They're 2 for 2 so far.
Sharpshooter Brady Heslip hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep No. 3 Kansas at bay, and Perry Jones III finished with 18 points in an 81-72 upset of the Jayhawks on Friday night.
It will be the 12th-ranked Bears who will face No. 5 Missouri for their first championship.
"This was a night we grew up," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
Quincy Miller added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Pierre Jackson had 11 points and seven assists for the Bears (27-6), who lost to the Tigers in their only previous Big 12 title game.
"We were just more focused, and we're playing as a team," Jackson said. "Once we're all clicking like that, we're hard to beat. We know what time of year it is."
Tyshawn Taylor had 20 points for Kansas (26-6), which used a big second-half charge to briefly take the lead. But the Bears hung tough down the stretch, and Heslip's two 3-pointers - one with 2:03 remaining, the other with 1:12 left - allowed them to hang on.
No team from Texas has ever won the Big 12 tournament.
Baylor will get another chance.
"They beat us. Make no mistake about that," Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The last time the Jayhawks lost to Baylor was in the quarterfinals of the 2009 conference tournament, when they were also the top seed. Now they'll spend the rest of the weekend waiting for their seeding in the NCAA tournament, where many expected them to receive a No. 1 spot.
Thomas Robinson finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for Kansas. Elijah Johnson added 15 points but was 1 of 6 from beyond the arc, while Jeff Withey added 11 points.
"The thing that was most disappointing to me is we played a style that is just good enough to get your butt beat," Self said. "Average energy, we let them pass wherever they want to, we never dictated defensively, crappy traps on the post, not paying attention to the scouting report."
That about covers it.
Baylor took a 15-8 in the opening minutes and, with the exception of a couple flurries by the Jayhawks, managed to hold the advantage all the way to halftime.
Jones looked as if he never left the Sprint Center after his epic 31-point outing against Kansas State in the quarterfinals. He had 10 points and five boards by halftime, once going way up for an alley-oop jam off a pass from Jackson that seemed headed for the cheap seats.
"They're a great team," Jones said. "When they get on runs it's hard to stop them. Just trying to get rebounds and defend against second-chance points."
The Jayhawks trailed 43-35 when the teams hit the locker room, and they were fortunate it was that close. Robinson, the Big 12 player of the year, was held to five points and one rebound in 13 minutes, forced to spend the final five on the bench because of foul trouble.
The Bears kept building on the lead in the second half, going ahead 53-40 on Acy's basket with 16:32 left. Little did they know it would be their last one for a while.
Taylor started the Jayhawks on an 18-3 push with an easy basket, and after Acy blew a dunk, Robinson scored underneath. Kansas started to get into transition, where it's at its best, and Taylor eventually rattled in another 3 to get the Jayhawks within one with 12:52 to go.
The senior guard shrugged his shoulders on his way back to defense, the Sprint Center coming alive with the crowd heavily favoring the school about a 30-minute drive from Kansas City.
"We started playing how we played," Taylor said. "We started defending a little bit."
Withey's three-point play and a basket by Robinson gave Kansas a 58-56 lead, its first since midway through the first half, but it wound up being short-lived.
Baylor scored the next nine points, four of them coming on Jones' first buckets of the second half, and still led 65-60 on a pair of foul shots by A.J. Walton with 6:08 left.
Taylor and Robinson managed to get to the foul line for Kansas, but Heslip's 3-pointer with 2:03 left gave Baylor a 70-64 advantage, and his next 3 with 1:12 go made it 73-66.
Except for a small contingent of Baylor fans, the arena was quiet the rest of the way.
"Very pleased with our guys from the standpoint we've been successful against Kansas before in spurts, and then they'd have a spurt and we couldn't answer the run," Drew said. "When they made a run tonight, I was really pleased with the character of our guys."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri fans grumbling about not getting to play Kansas in the Big 12 title game will get no sympathy from Kim English.
The Tigers' star guard will not hear of it. After scoring 23 points in a bruising 81-67 victory over Texas in the semifinals Friday night, he's just happy to be in the championship game against anybody as his school bids farewell to the Big 12.
"We would have played Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas, anybody," English said. "We just want to win the Big 12."
The second-seeded Tigers (29-4) will meet No. 12 Baylor, which upset No. 3 Kansas 81-72 in the earlier semifinal. The Bears (27-6), swept in two games against Missouri in the regular season, will be seeking the first championship by a Texas team in the tournament's 16-year history.
"We played Baylor my freshman year to win the Big 12 tournament," said English. "Our coaches didn't come here earlier (Friday) to scout Kansas. They came here to see what both teams did. We will prepare to beat Baylor tomorrow."
The Tigers, who are heading to the Southeastern Conference this year, got a career-high 23 points from Phil Pressey and led Texas almost the entire way. Ricardo Ratliffe had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Tigers.
In the second half, English hobbled into the tunnel with a leg injury and Texas' J'Covan Brown, the Big 12's leading scorer, went to the bench after crashing into a cluster of photographers behind the basket. Neither stayed out of the game for long.
"I was coming off a cut on offensive action we were doing the whole game," said English. "He shot the gap and his knee hit my quad pretty hard. I just have to get treatment tonight. I'll be fine tomorrow. It's the championship."
English, a 6-foot-6 senior, was 9 for 9 from the floor when he hobbled off.
Brown, after scoring just five points in the first half, wound up with 21.
"I think I came down hit my head, you know," Brown said. "My neck got stiff on me. But I'll be all right."
Missouri, which is severing conference ties with some schools that go back more than 100 years, led almost the entire way while making it three in a row over the Longhorns (20-13).
Phil Pressey, whose previous career high was 22 points, hit his first three 3-point attempts to stake the Tigers to an early lead they never gave up.
"When Pressey's making those 3s, he's as tough as any guy to guard because he does such a terrific job off seeing the floor," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "I think Missouri does as good a job as any team I've seen in a long time in terms of sharing the ball, and moving the ball. They get you spread out. They'll make the first pass and then they'll make the next one and the next one."
Marcus Denmon, Missouri's two-time All-Big 12 guard who had 24 points the night before against Oklahoma State, was 0 for 10 from the floor and scored only two points. His previous season low was six points, against Texas.
"That's a great example of a ballclub that's a team," said Missouri coach Frank Haith. "Marcus Denmon is our leading scorer, but we have a lot of good players on this team. Flip (Phil Pressey) had one of those nights and Kimmy (English) was outstanding. We've got other guys who can score."
After a 3-pointer by Pressey, Texas cut the lead to 67-57 on buckets by Brown and Clint Chapman. But Michael Dixon answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and the lead suddenly skied to 16 points with about 6 1/2 minutes left.
Pressey had 18 points in the first half, combining with English to score 32 points and send the Tigers into intermission with a 39-32 lead. Pressey was 5 for 7 from behind the arc for the game.
Pressey's fourth 3-pointer at the 2:59 mark gave Missouri its biggest first-half lead at 39-26. But Myck Kabongo drilled an answering 3-pointer and Brown canned a free throw and a 12-footer as the Longhorns ended the half on a 6-0 run.
English, who had 27 points in Missouri's 88-70 quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State, was 6 for 6 from the floor in the first half after hitting his first eight shots the night before against Oklahoma State. He was 9 for 10 for the game and 3 of 4 behind the 3-point line.
After Jonathon Holmes scored inside for Texas, cutting the lead to 17-15, English led Missouri on a 9-1 run, driving in for a layup and popping in his second 3-pointer.
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