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Updated: Thursday, February 19, 2004 12:11 AM EST
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(20) Kansas 74, Baylor 54

LAWRENCE, Kansas (Ticker) -- It took much longer than it should have, but No. 20 Kansas pulled away from overmatched Baylor.

Wayne Simien scored 24 points to lead a balanced attack as the Jayhawks snapped out of their early doldrums and routed Big 12 Conference foe Baylor, 74-54, to snap a two-game slide.

Having lost their last two games by a combined 39 points - their first consecutive conference losses in two year - to dip to their lowest ranking this season, the Jayhawks were expected to ambush the Bears, a 25-point underdog.

Baylor (7-17, 2-9 Big 12) surprisingly battled Kansas (16-6, 8-3) within 39-37 seven minutes into the second half, leaving the normally raucous fans at Allen Fieldhouse a bit antsy.

"They play a style that is hard to watch and hard to defend," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "They're not going to play until there are 12 seconds left on the shot clock. We did a decent job of taking them out of some things. We tried a lot of different things defensively to try to hound them early in the shot clock."

Kansas finally broke free with a 17-4 surge, opening a 56-41 lead on an alley-oop dunk from Aaron Miles to freshman J.R. Giddens with 7:38 remaining.

"That is how we have to play every game. We have got to be aggressive," said Miles, who had six points and four steals.

Keith Langford scored 19 points, Giddens added 15 and Miles handed out eight assists for the Jayhawks, who improved to 9-1 all-time against Baylor.

"Midway through the second half, it seemed like they weren't going away," Langford said.

Giddens had consecutive 3-pointers midway through the run, giving Kansas a 49-39 lead with 9:40 left.

"We didn't play poorly. They just did a good job of muddying the game up," Self said. "The guys hung in there and stayed relatively patient. We did pretty good the second half."

Terrance Thomas scored 15 points and Harvey Thomas added 13 for the Bears, who made 9-of-14 shots in the first half but shot 42 percent (18-of-43) overall. Baylor also was hampered by foul trouble.

"We knew that if we did not give it our all tonight, we would have been embarrassed, but we stuck it out and did a pretty good job," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "When you have six scholarship players and two of them get into early foul trouble, you know that there will be problems."

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