By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Big 12 Sports.com Correspondent
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - A wounded bear can be dangerous. Disrespected Bears can be, well, upsetting.
Ninth-seeded Baylor pulled off a huge shocker in the opening game of Thursday's Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Championship. The Bears (19-13), who fell short of expectations during conference play, knocked off regular-season champion and top-seeded Kansas, 71-64.
"We didn't end the Big 12 like we wanted to," senior guard Henry Dugat said. "People were counting us out and didn't expect us to make it this far."
Kansas (25-7) was expected to reach Saturday's championship game. The Jayhawks had won their last nine Big 12 Championship games and were favored to win their fourth trophy. KU had never lost an opening day game in the Big 12 Championship.
"The game obviously was not a well-played game by Kansas at all," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I thought Baylor controlled the game from the get-go. They were certainly better than us from the start. We got exactly what we deserved."
Had the Jayhawks won three games here, they might have deserved a No. 1 seed. The opening round loss might drop KU as low as a No. 4.
Baylor's NCAA chances? Only if the Bears win four games in four days in the Ford Center.
"We showed a lot of heart," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "When we were down five, we could have packed it in. When you have seniors who care and want to go out in style, they're a tough out."
Next up for Baylor is Texas in Friday's semifinals. The fifth-seeded Longhorns advanced with a 61-58 quarterfinal victory over Kansas State.
Baylor's zone defense and Dunn's 24 points fueled the upset. Self lamented the fact that his team seemed to lack energy. The Bears took advantage and built a 30-13 lead at the 7:08 mark. They then let Kansas rally in the second half to twice take five-point leads midway through the second half.
"We said for TV's sake we now made it more interesting, now we can come out and play," Drew said of the wasted lead. They made a run. We knew great teams make runs, and then great teams answer runs."
Postseason games often have snap shot moments where seemingly insignificant plays wind up being influential.
* Trailing 24-11, Kansas' Sherron Collins had a driving layup blocked. Mario Little was then fouled but missed both free throws. Kansas controlled the rebound but then turned it over.
* Baylor's Anthony Jones got his only basket of the game on the Bears' last possession of the first half. He was able to score because two Kansas defenders fell.
* Kansas freshman Markieff Morris missed a dunk that could have given the Jayhawks a 60-55 lead.
* On the ensuing Baylor possession, Dugat missed a layup when his reverse effort hit the bottom of the rim. He recovered the ball and found Dunn at the top of the key. His 3-pointer tied the game at 58-58. Two points became three.
* Following a driving miss by Collins, Dugat was dribbling up court on a semi-fast break. Dunn was trailing the play yelling "Henry, Henry." Dugat penetrated the lane and then kicked to Dunn, whose 3-pointer gave Baylor a 65-58 lead with 3:37 remaining.
"From the time I got the ball, I heard him yelling at me," Dugat said.
"Just so you know, everyone knows when Lace is open," Drew cracked. "He makes sure everyone knows."
* After Kansas had closed to within 65-64, Curtis Jerrells pass to Kevin Rogers could have led to a layup but Kansas nearly stole the ball. Rogers chased down the loose ball and eventually scored on a jump hook over Morris that gave Baylor a 67-64 lead with 1:27 remaining.
And while those sequences were difference makers, for the second consecutive game Baylor also got unexpected production from one of its centers. In round one Josh Lomers provided 11 points, nearly four times his average.
Against Kansas, Mamadou Diene had nine points, four rebounds and five blocked shots. The 7-1 senior scored 11 points in conference play.
"He was huge," said Drew, who wasn't referring to Diane's height. "We wouldn't have won without him."
* What's next for Kansas? "You shouldn't base your confidence level on one game," coach Bill Self said. "This was a reality check. (The players) are going to go to school (Friday) with all the other students wondering why are you back here already? And then we will practice as hard as have ever practiced and get them thinking about that as opposed to worrying about what just happened."
* Kansas became the second No. 1 seed to lose their opening game. Iowa State lost in 2001 ... to Baylor.
* Baylor ended a seven-game losing streak to Kansas. The Bears are 2-15 all-time against the Jay hawks.
* Baylor made 45 percent of its shots. The Bears are the 11th team to shoot better than 45 percent against Kansas this season.
* In his last three games, Kansas junior guard Sharon Collins is 16-of-58 (27.5 percent) from the field and 6-of-26 (23 percent) from 3-point range.