WACO, Texas (AP) — Flo Thamba had 18 points, Jeremy Sochan had 17 and 10th-ranked Baylor overcame a big early deficit to beat No. 5 Kansas 80-70 on Saturday night, avenging an embarrassing loss three weeks earlier and keeping the Jayhawks from clinching a share of their 20th Big 12 title.
The Bears (24-5, 12-4 Big 12) didn’t take the lead until the opening minute after halftime, and went ahead to stay at 65-63 on Thamba’s jumper with 4:07 left. That came after Ochai Abaji, who had 27 points for Kansas, made a tying 3-pointer.
The Jayhawks (23-5, 12-3) had their four-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to lay claim to another Big 12 title. They still have three games left, including a game postponed from Jan. 1.
Baylor, the defending national and Big 12 champions who lost 83-59 in Lawrence on Feb. 5, began the day tied with No. 9 Texas Tech for second place in the Big 12.
But the Red Raiders (22-7, 11-5), who swept their two games against Baylor and split with Kansas, lost 69-66 at TCU earlier Saturday. The Jayhawks play twice in three days against TCU next week.
The Bears took their first lead with a blistering opening minute of the second half, with Kendall Brown blocking a shot and then running the court for a slam dunk after a long bounce pass from James Akinjo that made 33-32.
There was then a technical foul assessed against Bill Self, with the Kansas coach irate that there wasn’t a foul called on a shot by Christian Braun. Self was on the court after the non-call, which came after the Jayhawks never went to the free throw line before halftime. Akinjo made both free throws.
Braun had 17 points and 10 rebounds. David McCormack had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Adam Flagler added 13 points for Baylor, while Akinjo had 12. Matthew Mayer had nine points and 12 rebounds.
Flo Thamba, the big man remaining for the Bears with Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua out two weeks after a season-ending left knee injury, had 12 of their first 17 points.
Baylor was down 28-15, matching its largest deficit, before a layup by Thamba ignited a 10-0 run. The Bears were within 28-25 after Sochan blocked a shot that was swatted to Flagler, who drove the court and switched the ball from his left to right hand in the air for a layup. Sochan had a two-handed slam before that.
Kansas: Plays TCU at TCU on Tuesday night, then hosts the Horned Frogs on Thursday night in the makeup of what was supposed to be the Big 12 opener, but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues in TCU’s program.
Baylor: At No. 20 Texas on Monday night. The Bears beat the Longhorns 80-63 at home Feb. 12.