LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Dedric Lawson scored 23 points, including 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, to help No. 13 Kansas beat Baylor 78-70 Saturday and stay undefeated at home.
The performance came hours after Lawson was announced on the ballot for the Wooden Award.
Yet on senior night in Allen Fieldhouse, a trio of Kansas freshmen impressed. Devon Dotson, David McCormack and Quentin Grimes had 15, 12 and nine points, respectively. Kansas (23-8, 12-6 Big 12) fielded no seniors for the first time since 2007. The Jayhawks lone senior Lagerald Vick left the team earlier this season for personal reasons.
Jared Butler led the way for Baylor (19-12, 10-8 Big 12), scoring a career-high 31 points in 36 minutes. It was a big game for the freshman, who was averaging 9.6 points.
Kansas took advantage of Baylor’s zone defense throughout the game, scoring 36 points in the paint. That included 18 of Kansas’ 32 points in the first half. Baylor’s strong rebounding presence was heavily tested, and both teams finished with 43.
Kansas led 32-29 at halftime. A four-point possession five minutes in the second half turned the game in the Jayhawks’ favor.
Baylor forward Flo Thamba was called for a flagrant one foul after the referees deemed he purposely pushed his hand into the face of Lawson. He made both free throws and was fouled again by Thamba after the inbounds play, with Lawson making both again.
Kansas took a 44-35 lead after the possession and maintained it the rest of the game.
With their Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal opponents already decided and neither team playing for the regular-season title, there was little at stake aside from an improved resume come Selection Sunday.
Kansas: The Jayhawks finish the season 16-0 in Allen Fieldhouse, marking the 20th time in program history that Kansas has done so. It’s the first time since 2015-16 than Kansas has accomplished the feat and the seventh time during the Bill Self era.
Baylor: Despite the loss, the Bears finished the Big 12 regular season with double-digit wins for the sixth time in 10 seasons. Before 2010, they hadn’t finished conference play with double-digit wins since 1988 when they competed in the Southwest Conference.
Kansas: The Jayhawks enter as the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. They will play 6th-seeded Texas on Thursday.
Baylor: Will play Iowa State on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament.