Talented Baylor showcases its strengths, TCU’s weakness

01/11/2014 3:59 PM

11/12/2014 3:39 PM

For a team struggling in nearly all facets, especially rebounding, Baylor isn’t the place to snap out of it.

Not for TCU on Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 7,575 at the Ferrell Center against the seventh-ranked Bears in their Big 12 home opener.

Baylor (13-2, 1-1 Big 12) was coming off a loss at No. 9 Iowa State and by midway through the first half had the look of a team not in the mood to give TCU any quarter.

The Bears’ 88-62 drubbing of the Horned Frogs (9-6, 0-3) not only highlighted TCU’s deficiencies but showcased Baylor’s depth.

Taurean Prince came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points, including 15 in the first half to help the Bears pull away early.

After TCU took an 11-9 lead five minutes into the game, Baylor outscored the Frogs 42-14 the final 14:31 of the first half.

The run was sparked by Amric Fields’ foul of Cory Jefferson on a 3-point attempt. Jefferson made all three free throws and Baylor went on an 11-3 burst. The Bears led by as many as 30 in the second half and TCU never pulled any closer than an 18-point deficit.

“They played extremely well, I thought,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said of Baylor, which he called a really good team. “We could never get to a point where we could put them in a situation where they got uncomfortable with any particular play or players.

“We got to figure this thing out where we’re playing a little better versus good people. But this is a really, really good basketball team. Trust me, I’ve been around a lot so I’ve seen some pretty good teams. They’re a lot better than they were last year.”

TCU was without guard Michael Williams, who suffered a high ankle sprain in practice. That forced Clyde Smith III into a season-high 12 minutes, spelling for Kyan Anderson.

But Baylor’s 54-25 rebounding edge proved to be the difference. The Bears’ 54 rebounds are more than TCU has combined in its past two games, including 21 against Kansas State. Both are the Frogs’ lowest rebounding totals this season.

“I think they just started to beat us physically,” TCU’s Brandon Parrish said. “They just started pounding, pounding and pounding and we started backing up and backing up. We didn’t keep fighting like we did that first few minutes. No matter who we’re playing, no matter who we have on our team, the five guys on the floor have to fight.”

TCU also struggled at the free-throw line, finishing 9 of 20. Meanwhile, Baylor was setting a school record at the line, making all 21 attempts, the most made without a miss by the Bears.

After the game, Johnson left a simple message to his team on the chalkboard: “We quit.”

“We stopped playing,” he said. “Let’s not make a big deal out of it. There’s 40 minutes in a game, so if you quit on one possession that’s quitting. I don’t care, we could have been playing the Heat. If you’ve got to battle, you’ve got to battle.

“The kids, to a man, they know what’s going on. Their body language was bad when [Baylor] made a run. It got bad. So when it’s bad like that guys stop playing. I don’t care what the score is, I don’t stop coaching.”

Parrish, who led TCU with 16 points and six rebounds, said the team quit defensively.

“I just feel like we have to have heart, toughness and pride when it comes to the defensive aspect of our basketball game and I feel like we lose sight of that a lot,” Parrish said.

TCU travels to No. 11 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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