LaceDarius Dunn is anything but bashful with the ball in his hands. This is a good thing -- for Baylor, anyway.
The sophomore guard accounted for 24 of the Baylor Bears' points on Thursday, sinking six three-pointers as Baylor handed Kansas a stunning first-round loss, 71-64, sending the Jayhawks home early and putting themselves in the Big XII semifinals for the first time since 2001.
The contest marks the first time a ninth-seed has beaten a one-seed in the tournaments' 13-year history and only the second time a one-seed has lost its first game. The only other time that happened was in 2001, when Iowa State fell at the hands of these Baylor Bears.
Baylor jumped to an early lead, with Dunn quickly posting 11. The three-time defending champion Jayhawks went down 30-13 late in the first half before cutting the lead to four at halftime.
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Within two minutes of the second half, the lead disappeared as Sherron Collins sank an improbable lay-in.
Kansas continued the assault, gaining a lead for the first time since the opening minute as Tyrel Reed hit a three with about 10 minutes remaining. The Jayhawks would extend their lead to five before Baylor regained their step once more.
Not surprisingly, the run was sparked by LaceDarius Dunn, who provided the Bears with two crucial threes and a steal turned easy lay-in over the stretch. With about three minutes left, Baylor led the Jayhawks 65-58.
Kansas went on a run of sorts towards the end, with threes from Collins and Reed, but their efforts proved to be in vain. Collins, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, came up empty on each of his last two trips down court, the last of which was an ugly, air ball from beyond the three-point line.
Game over -- 71-64, and the Jayhawks are headed back north to Lawrence.
Kansas is still a lock for the National Tournament, though their early exit from conference play illustrates their struggles with regard to consistency.
The Hawks lost all five of their starters from last year's NCAA Championship squad, leaving Collins and center Cole Aldrich as the only players with significant experience on the team.
Coming into Thursday, Kansas was the 11th-ranked team in the nation.