Baylor surge turns back TCU for eighth consecutive time

Baylor forward Taurean Prince celebrates a basket in the first half against TCU. He had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting in the half Wednesday night.
Baylor forward Taurean Prince celebrates a basket in the first half against TCU. He had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting in the half Wednesday night. AP

It doesn’t usually take Trent Johnson long to boil a game down, and it sure didn’t Wednesday night in Waco.

“I’ll save you a lot of time — we’re not very good,” the TCU coach told reporters after his team’s 82-54 loss to No. 22 Baylor at the Ferrell Center, the Frogs’ eighth consecutive loss in the series since joining the Big 12. “We’re certainly not in that class.”

That became evident from the 3:26 mark of the first half.

Out of a timeout, Baylor switched to man-to-man defense, drew a couple of missed shots and made six consecutive shots of its own to fuel a 13-0 run to finish the half. Taurean Prince’s 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the half pushed the Bears’ lead to 39-31, and Terry Maston’s jumper in the lane with two seconds left provided a 10-point halftime lead.

It didn’t stop there.

The Bears (13-3, 3-1 Big 12) made four of their first five shots in the second half, were shooting 73 percent deep into the second half and outscored TCU 49-15 from 7:50 of the first half to 11:10 of the second.

“We took some ill-advised shots,” Johnson said. “Against a team like this, you’ve got problems, because bad offense leads to good offense for a team that talented and that physical.”

TCU (9-7, 1-3), coming off an upset of Texas on Saturday, did not have the firepower to keep up in a game that got away from its tempo. The Horned Frogs were shooting 55 percent against the Baylor zone before the switch, leading 31-26 after Mike Williams’ 3-pointer with 7:50 left in the first half.

“We took some good shots,” TCU center Karviar Shepherd said. “Some of them didn’t go down, some of them did. We just got to as a team get in the gym and shoot shots and make them.”

TCU, which plays at Kansas on Saturday, was without second-leading scorer Malique Trent (11.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists). He missed the game because of a violation of team rules. His return date was not announced.

“There’s not a lot of bright spots,” Johnson said. “I really struggle with our lack of competitiveness in the second half. But they’re good — they’re good. … We’ve got our work to do. We have been a completely different team when we are on the road with our competitiveness, and I really struggle with that. That speaks volumes for our lack of mental toughness.”

Maston, a sophomore guard from DeSoto, had 17 points off the bench for Baylor. Forward Rico Gathers had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Bears, becoming No. 7 on the all-time Big 12 rebounding list, passing Aleks Maric of Nebraska.

Shepherd led TCU with 13 points, making five of eight shots. But he had only three rebounds, and reserve forward JD Miller led the team with four rebounds, as Baylor won on the boards 36-19.

Chauncey Collins had 11 points for TCU, but none in the second half.

“I thought we did a really good job in tempo to our liking when they were in their zone,” Johnson said. “We were making shots, obviously. They said enough of that, so they went out and got in man and forced the tempo a little bit and forced the possessions, and that’s when we got ahead of ourselves. But they’re good. They’re good, they’re talented, they’re playing well. It’s an impressive group.”

That boiled it down.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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