Two teams were trying to find themselves and salvage their seasons Wednesday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Baylor might have done it. But for TCU, it was the most discouraging of nights in a season filled with them.
Baylor hit a season-high 16 3-pointers, including a season-best eight from Brady Heslip, as the Bears ran away with a 91-58 victory in front of about 4,000 in attendance. The 33-point loss was the Horned Frogs’ largest losing margin this season, and TCU slipped to 2-27 in the Big 12 since beginning league play last season.
Heslip led the Bears (15-9, 3-8 Big 12) with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, all from beyond the arc. His teammates combined to hit 8 of 15 on 3s (59.3 percent). That’s better than Baylor shot overall (53.4 percent).
“We didn't play as hard as we’d played in the last four out of five games,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “Bottom line, Baylor is better than us. Are a lot of teams better than us? Probably. But this is the hand we’ve been dealt. I think we’ve competed harder in the losses to Texas Tech and Iowa State than we did tonight.”
The Bears’ 3-point barrage probably had something to do with taking the fight out of the Frogs. Each time TCU attempted to chip away, Baylor answered, whether it was Arlington Grace Prep ex Isaiah Austin, who had 14 points, five assists and four blocks, or Rico Gathers, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Five Bears scored in double figures and helped overshadow a season-best performance by Kyan Anderson, who led TCU with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Anderson also had four assists. His 15 points in the last 7:40 of the first half helped TCU (9-14, 0-11) keep it respectable at halftime, 49-38.
“To me, a game like that doesn't matter if you don’t win,” Anderson said. “I want us to win every game, so I think maybe I could have done more to help us win.”
But Heslip heated up early in the second half and took advantage of some slow defensive movement from the Frogs to knock down three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half. He made all six second-half 3-point attempts as the Bears stretched their lead. Baylor connected on five consecutive 3s, including three by Heslip, over a five-minute stretch late in the game to balloon the lead to 28 with 4:44 remaining.
“That’s going to give you separation in a game, so we shot it really well,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Hopefully, we’ve got some shots left in us for Saturday.”
Meanwhile, TCU’s offense stalled out down the stretch. The Frogs’ last field goal of the game was Anderson’s layup with 10:24 remaining. TCU didn’t score for almost 10 minutes before Michael Williams connected on 3 of 4 free throws with less than a minute to play.
Anderson, who played the game with a bruised shoulder, left to a standing ovation. His 10 field goals are a season high.
TCU had allowed opponents only 13 3s in its previous three games combined. Rebounding was again a huge problem for the Frogs. Baylor had a 45-18 advantage on the boards.
Drew said he hopes the victory can spark a comeback in the final seven games of the regular season. Baylor hosts Kansas State at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re a very good team; our strength of schedule is fourth in the nation,” he said. “Unfortunately, or fortunate for Big 12 fans, you have a great league, so we can play well and not win games. It’s not that we’re a bad team, but when you’re playing Top 25 teams, and we’ve had now eight Tp[ 25 teams [in the league] ... you don’t have a big margin of error, and if you don’t execute, you’re going to be on the losing end.”
TCU doesn’t play at home again until Feb. 22 against Iowa State. TCU is at No. 7 Kansas on Saturday and at Kansas State on Wednesday