No. 19 Baylor dominates inside to beat TCU 86-71
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Johnathan Motley and the No. 19 Baylor Bears are learning how to play inside with limited help from burly forward-turned-NFL prospect Rico Gathers.
That's how coach Scott Drew sees it anyway.
Motley led a dominant effort around the basket with 22 points and nine rebounds, Taurean Prince scored 16 of his 22 in the second half and the Bears pulled away from TCU 86-71 on Saturday night.
''The first game without him, we were pounded on the glass and I think everybody realized that no longer could we just expect him to get it and leak out of the break,'' Drew said of Gathers, who has missed two of the past six games while battling the flu. He had season lows with three points and three rebounds against the Horned Frogs.
''So I think we're getting better at everybody rebounding and knowing the importance of that.''
Gathers' quiet game came a day after the 6-foot-8, 275-pound senior announced he would make himself available for the NFL draft as a tight end. He won't pursue the NBA even though he hasn't played football since eighth grade.
The Bears (21-8, 10-6 Big 12) outrebounded the Horned Frogs 45-21 and had a 25-7 edge in second-chance points while matching a school record with their sixth Big 12 road win. Prince had eight boards.
On the same day Kansas clinched at least a share of the league's regular-season title, Baylor ended up in a three-way tie for third with third-ranked Oklahoma and No. 25 Texas with two games remaining before the conference tournament. No. 14 West Virginia (11-5) is alone in second.
Malique Trent had a career-high 25 points to lead TCU (11-18, 2-14), which fell to 0-9 against the Bears since joining the Big 12 and has lost all 10 games against ranked opponents this season.
''We knew some concern for us coming in was being able to keep them off the glass and obviously that's where this thing got decided,'' TCU coach Trent Johnson said. ''They're long, they're athletic, they're powerful.''
After taking control early by dominating inside, Baylor turned aside a TCU comeback from the perimeter.
The Frogs, who trailed by 13 early in the second half, had a chance to tie when a turnover led to Prince hitting a left corner 3 at the other end. Ishmail Wainright scored from the same spot after a miss by Chris Washburn, and Prince hit one from left of the key after another turnover for a 66-55 lead.
Baylor, which is a league-best 6-2 on the road, started the game with an 11-0 run, the first two baskets on layups after offensive rebounds by Wainright, who had 11 points and six boards.
The Bears had another 14-3 run before halftime to get the lead back to double digits and finished the first half with a 10-1 edge on offensive rebounds and an 18-2 lead on second-chance points. For the game, Baylor outscored TCU 40-16 on points in the paint.
GIVING FOOTBALL A GO
Gathers said he's been hearing it from teammates for two years that he should try football. Since he is set to graduate in May, Gathers had the option of playing for the Bears in the fall but said he and his wife decided to pursue pro football for financial reasons. The Buffalo Bills recently had a scout at a Baylor game.
Trent had a crowd-pleasing block and made two free throws with 0.2 seconds left in the first half to wrap up three dramatic plays on successive trips down the court in the final 11 seconds before halftime. Trent finished 11 of 13 from the line.
Baylor: Lester Medford had 10 assists to go with six of Baylor's 17 turnovers. He also had six points and six rebounds. ... With a win at Oklahoma, the Bears can beat their previous best Big 12 road record of 6-3 in 2012.
TCU: Chauncey Collins scored 10 of his 17 points in the first half, when the Horned Frogs stayed close by going 5 of 8 from 3-point range. ... The Horned Frogs were given a technical going into a timeout after Washburn was called for a foul that drew boos from the crowd.
Baylor: At No. 3 Oklahoma on Tuesday.
TCU: At Kansas State on Wednesday.
Previous versions of this story had incorrect references to Baylor's ranking and advantage in second-chance points. The Bears are No. 19, not No. 16. The second-chance advantage was 25-7, not 25-17.