WACO, Texas — Last month, Baylor traveled to TCU and scratched out an ugly win in overtime.
In the rematch Wednesday, the 19th-ranked Bears gave their home crowd a much crisper, flashier show as they raced past the Horned Frogs 77-57 at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor’s inside-outside game clicked. Forward Rico Gathers scored 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, while guard Kenny Chery scored 13 and handed out six assists. The Bears (17-5, 5-4 Big 12) hit six 3-pointers and scored 38 points in the paint.
“I thought we did a lot better job executing on the offensive end from the first time we played them,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Got to win your home games, so this is a very good win.”
Baylor used a 13-0 run midway through the second half to distance itself from the Horned Frogs and win for the fifth time in the past seven Big 12 games. TCU (14-8, 1-8) lost its fifth consecutive conference game, all against teams ranked in the Top 25.
Baylor forward Royce O’Neale sparked the game’s pivotal second-half run as he completed a three-point play and hit a 3-pointer on consecutive trips down the floor.
Bears guard Al Freeman followed with a fast-break layup on an assist from Chery, then Freeman hit a 3-pointer on the Bears’ next possession.
Gathers finished the run with a layup as the Bears took a tight, six-point contest and extended to a 19-point margin with 12:45 left.
“Rico did a great job rebounding, along with everybody else, and then getting it to Kenny and Lester and pitching ahead,” Drew said. “We were able to get some buckets in transition, which made things easier. We did a good job of making the extra pass, and it always helps when you make shots.”
In the midst of that run, TCU coach Trent Johnson saw his team come unraveled.
“I think we lost our composure about six minutes into the second half,” Johnson said. “It’s the first time with this group, this team, this year that we got testy with one another, and it snowballed after that.”
Baylor shot 49.1 percent from the field to TCU’s 35.7 percent, and the Bears outrebounded the Horned Frogs 43-29.
Forward Amric Fields scored 14 points to lead TCU, and forward Kenrich Williams and guard Trey Zeigler each added 11. Poor free-throw shooting continued to plague the Horned Frogs, as they made 14 of 25.
Fields said the Horned Frogs let Baylor get out and run too often.
“They got a lot of transition buckets,” Fields said. “We didn’t get back like we should have. They got a lot of easy points, especially at the beginning. You dig yourself a hole it’s hard to get out of.”
Chery made four of five shots from the field in the first half and also knocked down both free throws he took before halftime. He and forward Taurean Prince paced the Bears with 11 points each before the break.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, get guys involved and get the team going,” Chery said.
With Chery scoring six points in the first two minutes, Baylor grabbed an 8-0 lead. The Bears later led by 11 when guard Lester Medford hit two free throws with 9:53 left in the first half.
TCU stayed within striking distance as Fields hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the first 20 minutes.
NOTES: In Baylor’s 66-59 overtime win at TCU on Jan. 10, the Bears shot 29.8 percent from the field, the program’s lowest shooting percentage in a win during Scott Drew’s 12 seasons as head coach. … TCU played its fifth consecutive game against an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25, a stretch that will reach at least six straight. The Horned Frogs play at 21st-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday. … TCU is 1-8 in Big 12 play, having lost seven times against ranked opponents and four times by fewer than 10 points.
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