TCU's three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday as the Horned Frogs were unable to solve the No. 6 Baylor Bears, losing 70-52 at the Ferrell Center in Waco.
The Frogs never led in the contest, trailing by as much as 21 points midway through the second half. TCU began the game a dismal 2-13 from the field and would finish the game at just 38 percent in shooting. Forward Vladimir Brodziansky, coming off multiple double-digit scoring performances, began the game cold going 1-8 from the field in the first half.
“Obviously they’re good, they played good, we didn’t play good and I think we are good,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We got what we deserved.”
Jalen Fisher tallied a team-high and career-high 18 points in the contest, but the solo performance from the freshman wouldn’t be enough to overcome a performance that saw three Baylor players combine for 40 of the Bears’ first 46 points. Jonathan Motley began the game scoring six of Baylor’s first nine points en route to a game-high 25 points on the day.
King McCLure also impressed for the Bears, scoring three shots from downtown early to give Baylor an 11-point lead by midway in the first half. McClure finished the night at 13 points, all in the first half, trailing only Motley and Manu LeComte in the game. LeComte finished the afternoon with 17 points.
As for the Frogs, Kenrich Williams finished the day with a team second-best 10 points, with J.D. Miller behind him at seven, scoring two of TCU’s five three-pointers. TCU did not hit a shot from downtown until 25 minutes and 33 seconds into the contest, only getting five looks from deep in the first half.
“I felt like we were stagnant,” Fisher said. “We didn’t take the open shots.”
Williams called the lackluster effort surprising and embarrassing.
“We were expecting better. We got outworked today defensively….rebounding…it’s just an embarrassment,” Williams said. “They’re a great defensive team, but we just have to hit our shots.”
TCU fell in the rebounding department 36-26, though the Frogs outscored the Bears 15-11 in second chance points.
“That stood out to me – getting out rebounded by 10 in a low possession game,” Dixon said. “When you get down you put yourselves in a problem. We couldn’t turn it over and they made shots.”
The Frogs would keep the deficit within single digits for the first 10 minutes despite the woes, but a combination of the McClure threes and a 15 percent shooting effort for the Frogs would put TCU down double digits at the 10-minute mark, and Baylor would carry the momentum to a 15-point halftime lead, 32-17. It was TCU’s lowest scoring first half of the season.
TCU came out of the gate in the second half on a 6-2 run to cut the deficit back down to 11, but the Bears would stifle the run when Manu LeComte hit a three pointer to put Baylor back up by 14. The Bears extended their lead to as much as 17 five minutes into the half before it grew 21 with 8:43 to play.
The Frogs went 7-0 run in the closing minutes of the contest, ultimately more than doubling their first half point total with 35 in the second frame. It wouldn’t be enough however to overcome what ultimately ended in one of the team’s most lopsided losses of the season.
Dixon said at the end of the day, experience and size was the x-factor in the loss.
“We couldn’t give [Baylor players] foul trouble and that allowed them to just go and play,” Dixon said. “You’re talking about three or four-year guys. They have length, age, good size…their defense is both good in the zone and the man and that makes them different than most teams.”
Dixon was especially quick to credit Motley for his ability to perform.
“He’s long, he plays hard. I’m just impressed how quickly he has gotten so much better,” Dixon said. “I don’t know his entire history but guys who play hard get better and he fits into that category.”
With the loss behind them, TCU now sits at 17-8 (6-6 Big 12) on the season while the Bears improved to 22-3 (9-3 Big 12). The win also kept Baylor undefeated (16-0) this season when scoring at least 70 points.
The Frogs will look to regain their footing on Wednesday night when they host the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday at the Schollmaier Arena. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.