LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Defense and hustle have been the hallmarks of Kansas ever since Bill Self took over the program. Heck, they were a big part of it even before his arrival.
So, not surprisingly, Self was pleased that it was defense and hustle that triggered the defining run in the eighth-ranked Jayhawks' 78-68 victory over No. 24 Baylor on Monday night.
First was the defense: Perry Ellis stepped in front of a lackadaisical pass by the Bears, race up court and finished while getting fouled. He made the free throw, too.
Then the hustle: Wayne Selden tracked down a loose ball along the sideline, saved it to teammate Joel Embiid as he leaped over a table and fell into the laps of two Baylor fans, and was still struggling to get back to the court when his teammate converted the layup.
The two baskets were part of a 14-2 run that created the separation Kansas needed.
"I thought even though our defense wasn't great tonight," Self said, "it was nice to have energy keying our run there, because we had so many opportunities."
Ellis finished with 18 points to lead the Jayhawks (14-4, 5-0 Big 12), while Andrew Wiggins scored 17 — most of them at the free throw line, where he was 10 of 12.
Kansas finished 26 of 29 from the free throw line, pushing it to its fifth straight win. The last four have come against Top 25 teams — Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Baylor — making the Jayhawks the first to accomplish that feat since North Carolina in 1997.
"Might as well get used to playing good teams all the time," Wiggins said.
Brady Heslip hit six 3-pointers and scored 19 points for the Bears (13-5, 1-4), who have lost three straight and four of five. Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin added 16 points apiece.
"We knew that turnovers and getting them out of transition, we knew how effective they are in transition," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "You can't have 16 turnovers and win games on the road, in places like this. Got to get better in this area."
The teams combined for 16 turnovers in a disjointed first half that included 12 lead changes but virtually no rhythm. The Jayhawks managed to squeeze out a two-point halftime lead, but they had to shoot 60 percent from the field to do it.