AJ Walton and Pierre Jackson have played in a lot of big games in their career at Baylor. On a night where the Bears were fighting to get in the NCAA tournament field, Walton and Jackson came up big. Baylor pounded the #4 team in the nation- Kansas 81-58 in Waco. Scott Drew ran his record to 3-0 against Kansas after March 1st. In March of 2009, Baylor defeated #11 Kansas in the Big12 tourney 71-64. Last year, they defeated #3 Kansas in their own backyard 81-72.
Pierre Jackson played a masterful floor game on his final appearance at the Ferrell Center. He controlled the game from start to finish- scoring 28 points on 11-13 shooting (2-3 from 3 point range). He dished out 10 assists to only 3 turnovers. And he added 2 steals and 6 rebounds. Fellow senior AJ Walton also had a nice night- 12 points; 5 assists; 4 rebounds and a steal.
As great as Pierre Jackson's night was, it is hard to give the player of the game to someone else. But Cory Jefferson came up huge. After being shut out of the scoring column at Kansas earlier in the season, Jefferson responded with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. He was also 11-13 from the field- including 3-3 from 3 point range to help Baylor build a 37-28 halftime lead. He also played very good defense- holding Jeff Withey and Kevin Young to a combined 8 points.
Isaiah Austin in probably his last game in Waco chipped in 11 points; 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. Brady Heslip added 5. Baylor had no bench points but didn't need them on this night. Ben McLemore was impressive in the loss with 23 points on 5-9 shooting from deep.
It was a fun night for Baylor fans. It culminated in a mid-court celebration with Baylor fans as Coach Drew had seniors Jacob Neubert, AJ Walton and Pierre Jackson address the crowd. Coach Bill Self summed up Baylor's NCAA tournament hopes with this quote: “Baylor needed this game today, based on what everyone says, and they got it. I think this one definitely put them in the field.” Baylor fans are hoping that statement proves to be prophetic.