By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 1 men’s basketball defeated Texas Christian University 68-52 Saturday in the Ferrell Center. The Bears improved their record to 19-1 and have now won a program-record 18-straight games this season.
Baylor led by 17 points with 13:10 remaining in the second half but the Horned Frogs slowly chipped away down to six points. TCU guard Desmond Bane heated up after going scoreless in the first half as he posted 14 points in the last 20 minutes.
TCU worked the lead down to eight points with 3:00 minutes left and had possession to drop it further, but Baylor redshirt-sophomore guard Davion Mitchell stole the ball with 2:57 left on the clock and ran it back for a layup to put the Bears up by 10. Head coach Scott Drew said postgame that the mental toughness to come up with that play is a result of their close games earlier this season.
“I think Davion … did a great job right there in making sure that we kept some distance because as we all know, leads in college basketball evaporate real quick,” Drew said. “And that’s one thing I think you learn during the course of the year … Hopefully you learn and you do a better job operating and controlling what you can control during those moments.”
Redshirt-junior guard MaCio Teague led Baylor in scoring with 19 points on 7-13 shooting, including 5-8 shooting from behind the arc. Two other Bears, redshirt-senior forward Freddie Gillespie and sophomore guard Jared Butler, who didn’t score in the first half, followed with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Teague said after the game that the depth at guard is huge for the success of this team.
“It makes a huge difference knowing that we can rely on guys when it’s an off night,” Teague said. “Other guys can step up, Devonte [Bandoo] and even Matt Mayer who came in and made a big three at the end of the half. We’ve got a lot of guys on our team. We have a lot of depth.”
Junior forward Tristan Clark scored eight points on a perfect 4-4 shooting in just nine minutes as he continues to work back to full strength, and Mitchell finished with eight points as well along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Gillespie and Clark controlled the game through their post play, as Gillespie grabbed 11 boards and six blocks, while Clark maintained the lead off the bench with a plus/minus of 12 points. TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said postgame that the frontcourt pair sealed the deal after the opening blow from Baylor’s guards.
“They’ve got a nice combination there,” Dixon said. “I thought they wore us down, really with their bodies on the perimeter as well as inside.”
Baylor will have a quick turnaround as they travel for an 8 p.m. matchup on Monday in Manhattan, Kan. against Kansas State. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and can be streamed on the ESPN app.