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January 26, 2013

Baylor beats Horned Frogs 82-56

Hardly anybody left Daniel Meyer Coliseum Saturday evening not knowing that Baylor was the best team in the arena, that Isaiah Austin was probably best freshman in the Big 12, that Pierre Jackson, all 5-feet-10 inches of him, was the best player on the floor and that Scott Drew, sometimes criticized for underachieving with talent, had a special collection of talent that achieved plenty for 40 minutes against TCU.

"Hardly anybody" likely also included Trent Johnson.

"Good old fashioned butt whipping," TCU's coach said after the game. "They beat us every which way but loose."

The Bears won 82-56, handing TCU (9-11 overall, 0-7 Big 12) its seventh straight conference loss and sweeping the season series between the two teams. Baylor won 51-40 on Jan. 12 in Waco.

Less than five minutes into Saturday's game, Baylor (14-5, 5-1) led 7-0, and at halftime that lead had grown to 17, as the Bears led 43-26 at the break, the game more than out of reach by that point.

TCU shot just 33 percent (18-of-54) from the field, including 9-of-31 in the first half, but even a few more buckets here and there probably wouldn't have helped.

The Bears dominated on offense. They did all the right things, and it showed in the box score.

They shot 47 percent (27-of-57) from the field. They made 85 percent (17-of-20) of their free throws. They out-rebounded TCU 40-30 and out-assisted the Frogs 19-8. They made 11-of-19 three-pointers.

But it was hard to grasp the Bears' dominance Saturday without actually seeing it, without actually watching it unfold so forcefully.

At one point, Baylor went on an 21-4 run, scoring on eight straight possessions in the first half and blowing what was a seven-point game into a double-digit rout.

At one point, Austin dribbled between defenders, pulled off a spin move and hit a runner in the lane. The freshman is 7-foot-1.

At one point, Austin rolled his ankle, didn't come out for warm-ups after halftime, surprisingly re-entered the game, made a jumper then drained a three-pointer. Again, he is 7-foot-1.

At one point, Jackson missed a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer, but then came out on the Bears' first possession of the second half and atoned for his misfire, draining two in a row and extending their lead to 22.

"This is as talented of a team in this league," Johnson said. "But from my standpoint, this is as talented of a team in the country right now. They got length, they got size, they got quickness to the ball."

Jackson finished with a game-high 20 points, making it at times look easy as he ignited the Bears' offense.

"Jackson, obviously he's special," Johnson said. "He's special. If you look at the game - if you're a bystander -- and say what's he doing. And you look at the stat sheet - 20 (points), five (assists) and his five turnovers are probably because he's bored."

TCU had its chances, though, mostly early in the game, when, despite spotting the Bears seven points, it limited Baylor enough to cut the lead to 15-9 at the 9:51 mark.

And even later in the game, Adrick McKinney, whose improved interior play this year can't be understated, continually created chances against Austin and Cory Jefferson, Baylor's resident bruiser.

McKinney converted an and-one opportunity to get TCU on the board, and he finished team-high 15 points, also leading the Frogs in rebounding with eight.

But Baylor's perimeter advantage proved costly, McKinney said.

"It was more of guard play today," McKinney said. "Pierre had an easy 20. When you play against good teams, and they got good players like that, they make it look it easy."

Now, TCU gets a week off before facing a Texas team that has been equally bad in Big 12 play, losing its first five conference games. Next week might be the Frogs' most winnable game remaining. But after that, the road will continue to get tougher.

TCU has to keep trudging along, Johnson said.

"The easiest thing for players is to start blaming the officiating or start blaming their teammates or start blaming coaching, and that's the easiest thing for players to do at this time," Johnson said. "I told them, the easiest thing for me to do is to come back out, put that helmet on and start coaching, start teaching, staying the course. The hardest thing for me, personally, and my staff is that word that starts with a "Q."

McKinney, a senior, echoed that sentiment. The key is getting it across to TCU's younger players, he said.

"We try to tell them we have to do this so just stay with it," McKinney said. "They think if something goes wrong, then it's down hill, but they just have to keep fighting. We'll get it. We still have a lot of games to go."

News and Notes: TCU's 0-7 start is the worst since the 1978-79 season when the Frogs started 0-9 in Southwest Conference play...Brady Heslip and Gary Franklin combined to go 6-of-7 from behind arc for Baylor. Franklin finished with 12 points, Heslip with eight...Connell Crossland was 6-of-9 from the field and finished with 12 points...Kyan Anderson and Garlon Green, TCU's leading scorers, combined to go 3-for-14 from the field...Anderson (1) and Nate Butler Lind (1) made TCU's only three-pointers of the game...Butler Lind finished with 10 points...TCU will be back in action next Saturday against Texas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.


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