TCU men’s basketball today: First meeting with Baylor could give Frogs a boost

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TCU led by six at halftime in the first game this season against Baylor, but the then-No. 1 Bears roared back (The Associated Press/Emil Lippe).




By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer

FORT WORTH —  The final tally from the Jan. 8 game at Schollmaier Arena — No. 1 Baylor 76, TCU 64 — looks like many probably thought it would.

Of course, those who don’t digger deeper don’t get a true sense of what happened in the game and how it might have affected the losing team going forward.

The Horned Frogs hadn’t played in 18 days because of a COVID-19 outbreak following the Christmas break. The game against Baylor would serve as the Frogs’ Big 12 opener, a week after the originally scheduled opener at Kansas had to be postponed.

Maybe it was pent-up energy from the quarantine, but TCU shot out to a six-point halftime lead and was up nine early in the second half. Baylor, though, started hitting its shots, Frogs guard Mike Miles Jr. injured his wrist, and fatigue caught up to TCU.

But the Frogs saw what they were capable of doing against top teams. They gained confidence. They won their next two conference games and should have won a third straight.

Five weeks later the Frogs are flirting with a three-game losing streak and are watching their NCAA Tournament chances slip away. The team standing in front of them is Baylor, which still relies on its guard play and remains one of best teams in college basketball.

TCU, though, remains confident that it can bounce back Saturday.

The Frogs don’t really have much of a choice.

TCU men at Baylor

11 a.m. Saturday, Farrell Center, Waco

Records: TCU  16-7, 5-6 Big 12; Baylor 21-4, 9-3

TV: ESPN2. Radio: KLIF/570 AM

About TCU: The Frogs are coming off a painful 54-51 home loss Tuesday to Iowa State. Eddie Lampkin Jr. scored a career-high 16 points and Emanuel Miller added 14, but guards Mike Miles Jr., Damion Baugh and Francisco Farabello combined for only 14 points. TCU’s motion offense had no rhythm, which contributed to a poor shooting game and some poor shot selection. … The Frogs’ schedule the rest of the way rates as the fifth-most difficult in the country, with five of their final seven games against ranked opponents and four of the final seven on the road. … TCU continues to pace the Big 12 in offensive rebounding, and its defense climbed to No. 29 in the KenPom rankings. Baylor’s guards will again test the Frogs after hitting 13 3-pointers, many of them on open looks, in the first matchup.

About Baylor: The Bears, ranked seventh in the country, are coming off an 83-73 loss at No. 11 Texas Tech on Wednesday. The Bears drained 11 3-pointers, but were outrebounded by 11 and shot only 57.1% (12 for 21) from the free-throw line. … Baylor has three players averaging at least 13 points a game, LJ Cryer (13.5), James Akinjo (13.3) and Adam Flagler (13.0). They combined for 47 points last month against TCU, with Flagler scoring a team-high 22. … Baylor, the defending national champion, is 12-2 this season at home. … The Bears’ defense is ranked 17th by KenPom.

Jeff Wilson

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