Baylor faces TCU on road

By Shehan Jeyarajah
Sports Writer

Baylor basketball is in a free-fall. After a dominant 12-1 nonconference slate and top seven ranking to open the season, the Bears have dropped eight of their 10 Big 12 games.

“Anyone can beat anyone in the Big 12,” head coach Scott Drew said. “It’s not like we’re playing terribly. We’re just playing the fourth-toughest strength of schedule in the nation. We’re playing top 25 teams and getting beat.”

Baylor currently sits in ninth place out of the 10 teams in the Big 12. Tonight, the Bears (14-9, 2-8) will have an opportunity to pick up a win against TCU (9-13, 0-10), the only team yet to achieve a conference win.

Senior forward Cory Jefferson leads four Baylor players who average double-digit points. Jefferson averages 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Senior guard Brady Heslip contributes with 11.3 points off the bench on 47 percent from the three-point line. Sophomore forward Rico Gathers grabs 7.4 rebounds per game in only 19.3 minutes per game.

The Bears have struggled all season converting at the charity stripe. Baylor converts on 64.7 percent of free throws in conference play.

“It’s frustrating to leave points at the line, but we’re practicing,” junior wing Royce O’Neale said. “Our percentages are going up game by game. We just have to keep getting better.”

Baylor faces TCU after suffering a blowout at the hands of No. 21 Oklahoma 88-72.

Junior guard Kyan Anderson has emerged to lead the Horned Frogs with 15.7 points and 4.9 assists per game on 46.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from the free-throw line. Freshman center Karviar Shepherd adds 8.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

In the last matchup between TCU and Baylor, the then No. 7 Bears dominated the Horned Frogs from start to finish in an 88-62 win in Waco on Jan. 11.

Sophomore forward Taurean Prince led the way off the bench with 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field.

Freshman forward Brandon Parrish scored 16 points on 17 shots for TCU.

“In the last game, we just came out ready and came out prepared,” Jefferson said. “We’re going to have to do that again. They’re going to be trying to get a win on us just as much as we’re trying to get a win on them.”

Baylor basketball will play TCU at 6 p.m. today at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth.

The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPNU.