WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor was coming off a streak-busting victory over last week's No. 8 team, and got started Tuesday night with an alley-oop dunk and a 3-pointer before No. 8 Kansas even took its first shot.
Almost as quickly, the Bears are sliding again after dropping their fourth straight home game.
Naadir Tharpe scored 22 points, nine in a go-ahead run before halftime, and Big 12-leading Kansas rebounded from its first league loss with a 69-52 victory.
"I feel like this team has still got something special," Bears forward Rico Gathers said. "We've just got to start going out, when we get a win, and build on it instead of regressing. As long as we do that, we're going to be in the running. ... As long as we keep our heads high, we'll be just fine."
It has been a frustrating opening half of the league schedule for Baylor (14-8, 2-7 Big 12).
Cory Jefferson had 14 points to lead Baylor, which had won 13 straight at the Ferrell Center before their current slide. It's the longest home drought since dropping six in a row in 2005.
The Bears shot only 29 percent from the field (16 of 55) — though coach Scott Drew, looking for a positive, pointed out they did have assists on all but one of those baskets. They were outrebounded 45-31.
"Round 1 is over in the league. We have to do better in Round 2," Drew said. "The good thing is I believe we can win every game, but with the Big 12 being like it is we can lose every game. We have to make sure we play well to have a chance to win."
Early on, there were three ties and nine lead changes. Tharpe's short jumper with 3½ minutes left in the half broke a 25-all tie and put the Jayhawks (17-5, 8-1) ahead to stay.
The tiebreaking shot was Tharpe's third basket in a 14-3 spurt over the final 5 minutes of the first half, and he added a 3-pointer with a minute left. He then made another 3 on Kansas' opening possession after halftime.