WACO, Texas — Naadir Tharpe scored 22 points, nine in a go-ahead run for No. 8 Kansas before halftime, and the Big 12-leading Jayhawks rebounded from their first league loss with a 69-52 victory at Baylor on Tuesday night.
Andrew Wiggins overcame a slow start to score 14 points, while Perry Ellis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas.
Wiggins, the Big 12’s top scoring freshman, finished 4-of-13 shooting and didn’t make his first basket until a half-court shot to beat the buzzer going into halftime. That capped a 14-3 run over the final 5 minutes for a 35-27 lead.
Early on, there were three ties and nine lead changes. Tharpe’s short jumper with 31⁄2 minutes left in the half broke a 25-all tie and put the Jayhawks (17-5, 8-1 Big 12) ahead to stay.
Cory Jefferson had 14 points to lead Baylor (14-8, 2-7), which lost its fourth consecutive game at the Ferrell Center after a 13-game home winning streak. It’s the longest home drought since dropping six straight in 2005.
The Bears, coming off a win at then-No. 8 Oklahoma State that snapped their five-game losing streak, was trying to set up for a final shot before halftime when Kenny Chery threw an errant pass. Wiggins ended up with the ball, took a few steps and threw took a shot from near midcourt that went through the hoop.
Baylor has never won consecutive games over Top 25 opponents.
The tiebreaking shot was Tharpe’s third basket in the half-closing spurt, and he added a 3-pointer with a minute left. He then made a long 3-pointer on Kansas’ opening possession of the second half.
Kansas was coming off an 81-69 loss Saturday at surging Texas.
In their regular season finale last March, the Jayhawks lost 81-58 at Baylor. They still had a share of their ninth consecutive Big 12 title, but that loss kept them from winning it outright.