By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor came into Wednesday night’s matchup with TCU in desperate need of a win. The Bears had lost two in a row and eight of their last nine in conference play after their hot start to the season. Baylor (15-9, 3-8) finally was able to finish the job in a 91-58 win against TCU (9-14, 0-11) at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth.
Baylor opened the game with eight straight points. TCU scored, but senior power forward Cory Jefferson answered with a thunderous alley-oop to give Baylor a 10-2 lead. Baylor extended its lead to 18-4 after a three-pointer from junior forward Royce O’Neale.
TCU played Baylor to a 5-5 stalemate for a few minutes, but sophomore forward Taurean Prince nailed a three to give Baylor a 28-13 lead. TCU tried to play zone against Baylor and the Bears were able to take advantage early. Baylor hit on six of its first eight three-point jumpers en route to a 15-point lead with 11:17 left in the half.
After starting so hot, Baylor missed five straight threes, and TCU used this as an opportunity to get back into the basketball game. The Horned Frogs went on a 23-16 run to cut the Baylor lead to 44-36.
Baylor finished the first half on a run to push its lead to 49-38 on a layup at the buzzer by Prince.
TCU guard Kyan Anderson played a masterful first half, scoring or assisting on 20 of the last 25 points of the first half for the Horned Frogs. Anderson scored 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting in the first half. He added two three-pointers and three assists.
Sophomore center Isaiah Austin scored 14 quick points in the first half on 4-for-6 shooting from the field. The Bears shot 50 percent from the three-point line in the first half. Sophomore forward Rico Gathers grabbed five early boards.
Baylor started the second half on an 8-2 run behind an alley-oop from Jefferson and two straight three-pointers by senior guard Brady Heslip. Gathers scored six straight points for Baylor, capped off by a three-point play on an Austin assist.
With 14:08 left in the game, Prince was called for a technical foul for jawing at the referees as he walked back up the floor. Anderson hit two free throws to cut the Baylor lead to 62-47. From that point on, Baylor went on a 29-10 run to defeat TCU by a score of 91-57.
Heslip led the Bears in scoring with 24 points off eight three-pointers.
Gathers added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Austin put up 14 points, four rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Baylor finished with five players in double-figure scoring on the night.
TCU’s basketball performance started and finished with Anderson. The junior finished with 29 points and four assists on 10-for-17 shooting and 3-for-6 from the three-point line. Anderson scored half of the Horned Frogs’ points.
Baylor outshot TCU 53.4 percent to 40 percent on the night. If you take away Anderson’s performance, other TCU players shot 30.3 percent from the floor and 12.5 percent from the three-point line.
Baylor hit a season-high 16 three-pointers. The Bears assisted on 24 of their 31 field goals.
Baylor will next play at 6 p.m. Saturday against Kansas State at the Ferrell Center. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPNU.