Baylor (18-1, 6-1) won a hard fought battle against TCU (14-5, 3-4) 62-53. The Bears sit one game behind the Jayhawks in the Big 12 and have a two game cushion over the third place team in the conference. Manu Lecomte led the Bears in scoring with 17 points, and Johnathan Motley added 15.
The Bears opened the game limiting TCU’s offense. The Frogs made just 3 of their first 15 shots. But TCU fought hard and made this quite the contest. Tonight’s TCU team was significantly better than the TCU squads of recent years.
The Bears could not quite pull away early, which kept the contest in doubt for much of the game. Baylor held an 18-12 lead when Vladimir Brodziansky nailed a 3-point shot as Jo Lual-Acuil provided a late contest. After Baylor turned it over on their next possession, Jaylen Fisher nailed another perimeter shot for the Frogs to tie the game at 18-18.
TCU even took a 20-18 lead, but Manu Lecomte helped the offense regain the lead. Lecomte ran off the ball and nailed a corner 3-point look. Beyond a big Nuni Omot triple with a minute left in the first, LeComte was the only Bear to make a 3-point shot in the first half.
Baylor stayed in the game by making a few shots and working hard on the glass. This was a scrappy game, and sometimes a play like this was the difference in spurring a run:
Despite a mostly terrible shooting half, TCU stayed in the game by collecting offensive rebounds. TCU shot just 31% in the first half, but with four late 3-point makes, and seven offensive rebounds, TCU overcame their poor shooting percentage to lead 28-26 at halftime.
Baylor raced out to an 8-0 run to open the second half, but the Frogs answered with a 7-0 run immediately after. That was the feel for the game. A series of runs between two rivals.
TCU protected the ball well. They entered the game 172nd in offensive turnover percentage. They finished with just eight turnovers. The Frogs protected the ball well, and with the second chance opportunities from offensive rebounds—TCU finished with 15—it seemed like it would be too much for the Bears to win this one.
But down by one, Wainright drained a huge 3-point shot to give Baylor a 50-48 lead with less than four minutes to play. The Bears whiffed back-to-back 3-point attempts before that look, something TCU’s student section chanted with the passion not seen between Baylor and TCU since the fight between the two that consumed the end of 2014.
Not long after Wainright’s make, the Bears finally pulled away. After a timeout, Wainright threw a lob to Motley who went back up for the score. On the next possession, Lecomte drove into the middle of the court and knocked down a jump shot.
TCU tried to press the Bears to get back into the game, but Lecomte often broke the press, which led to easy Baylor looks:
This was the kind of game the Bears needed to stay in the Big 12 race. With King McClure out as he recovers from a minor knee strain, the Bears were playing with a short rotation. But they came out and won against a good TCU team. Eleven games remain in the Big 12 schedule, and the Bears remain the final realistic challenge to Kansas’ run.