Baylor men finally crack TCU's defense, upset bid

WACO -- For the first 27 minutes Saturday, TCU was a major fly in the ointment for Baylor.

But then the shots began to fall for the Bears, and the Horned Frogs' sturdy defense started to show a few cracks, as Baylor turned a nip-and-tuck game into a 51-40 win before a crowd of 7,753 on Saturday evening at the Ferrell Center.

TCU (9-7, 0-3 in the Big 12), which had slowed the fast-moving Baylor offense to a crawl throughout the first half, was leading 26-25 on Charles Hill Jr.'s pull-up jumper three minutes into the second half when the Bears' started a 17-4 run.

After TCU coach Trent Johnson was whistled for a technical, TCU stayed with Baylor for the next four minutes. Kyan Anderson and Connell Crossland made shots to move the Frogs to within 32-30 with just over 13:00 remaining.

That's when Baylor's offense really took off, as Pierre Jackson, Rico Gathers and Isaiah Austin each took turns pulling up for jumpers or securing put-backs. Austin, who attended Arlington Grace Prep, scored consecutive trips down the floor, first on a dunk, then on a driving pull-up jumper in the paint, to push Baylor's lead to 38-30.

TCU finally snapped an offensive drought of more than four minutes on Hill's 3-pointer, which made it 42-33 with 8:50 to go. Hill, a freshman from Fort Worth Trimble Tech making his first start, led the Frogs with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and tied for the team lead with eight rebounds.

"I thought my guys did a very good job going into the game understanding what we needed to do to have a chance to have a victory," Johnson said. "But [Baylor's] strength and their athleticism sort of wore us out there for about a five-minute period in the second half, and we couldn't make a shot."

TCU's leading scorer, Garlon Green, got into quick foul trouble and missed much of the first half. He finished with no points on 0-for-5 shooting. Devonta Abron had 10 points, and Anderson had eight.

Baylor was led by Cory Jefferson's 15 points, while Jackson and Austin scored 11 and 10, respectively.

TCU's defense, which leads the Big 12, was partly responsible for the Bears' struggles, but Baylor missed numerous chip shots in the first half and were only shooting 31 percent at halftime. Many of the same shots fell after the break, as Baylor improved to 52 percent. TCU's offense, as Johnson has grown accustomed to this season, struggled all night and shot 33 percent.

"We missed shots, but we guarded for 40 minutes, we rebounded for 40 minutes," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "As long as you do that, you give yourself a chance to win."

TCU is back at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum against No. 18 Kansas State (13-2, 2-0) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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