Bane has late push for TCU in 75-72 win over No. 2 Baylor
FORT WORTH, Texas – Baylor coach Scott Drew always enjoys watching Desmond Bane play, except when the TCU guard is going against the Bears.
This time, Bane may have cost No. 2 Baylor a shot at its first Big 12 title.
Bane scored 19 of his 23 points after halftime, with eight in a row during TCU's big tiebreaking run, in a 75-72 win on Saturday. It was the highest-ranked opponent the Horned Frogs have ever beaten on their home court, and fans streamed onto the court at the buzzer to celebrate.
“I'm so glad Desmond's a senior. ... I love cheering for him when we’re not playing him. He’s a hard worker and a great kid,” Drew said. “He’s a monster. What makes him so good is he’s so efficient. He’s 5 for 8 from the 3 and everybody’s trying to stop him from shooting 3s.”
Baylor (25-3, 14-2 Big 12) lost for the second time in three games since winning a Big 12-record 23 games in a row. The Bears were the nation's No. 1 team when they lost a week ago to now-No.1 Kansas (26-3, 15-1), which is a game ahead of them in the league standings after beating Kansas State on Saturday.
This was only the third Big 12 game this season when Baylor, which is also trying to lock up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, trailed in the second half.
“We’ve got to control what we can control," Drew said. “We’ve got two games ... (the Jayhawks) have two games to go. People probably thought we would have won here today. That’s the Big 12."
Bane made a long tiebreaking 3-pointer with 4:42 left that put the Frogs (16-13, 7-9) ahead to stay. After blocking a shot by Jared Butler, Bane then made a turnaround jumper before adding another 3 to make it 63-55 with just over three minutes left.
“Desmond Bane is a senior and wants to win. In the last five minutes he wanted to win and it showed,” Butler said.
That was part of 13 points in a row by TCU, and a bigger 18-1 spurt that Bane had started with another 3-pointer.
“My teammates got the most confidence in me and support. It makes it easy for me to keep going," said Bane, who was 2-of-10 shooting before halftime, then was 7-of-8 and made all five of his 3-pointers after that. “I just stayed aggressive and they started falling.”
PJ Fuller added 21 points for the Horned Frogs, while Jaire Grayer had 13 points and nine rebounds.
Butler and Freddie Gillespie both had 18 points while MaCio Teague had 13 for Baylor, the highest-ranked team to visit TCU since then-No. 1 Kansas in December 2003 before the Frogs were in the Big 12. Gillespie also had 17 rebounds.
TCU was up 68-55 after Fuller made two free throws with 1:19 left, though Gillespie's layup with nine seconds left cut the margin to three in the final 10 seconds. Diante Smith made two clinching free throws for the Frogs.
The Frogs, playing without second-leading scorer RJ Nembhard (groin) and guard Francisco Farabello (concussion), were down by as many as 12 points in the second half. But they shot 76.2% (16 of 21) from the field while scoring 54 points over the final 20 minutes.
“We’ve had some good (halves), but this is against the caliber of team it was and a team that had to get a win," coach Jamie Dixon said. “Very good and experienced, they’re the oldest team in the league. And we looked like an old team in the second half with seven guys."
That 54-point second half by TCU came against a Baylor defense that had held eight Big 12 opponents to 55 points or fewer in a game. The Horned Frogs had only 52 points in their loss in Waco four weeks earlier.
“We spread it out, we spaced it a little bit more, we told them to drive it, and then gave it to Desmond,” Dixon said. “That was pretty much the coaching that was going on there. But Desmond was tremendous."
Baylor: It was the first Big 12 road loss this season for the Bears, who were allowing only 58.7 points a game. They were looking for their sixth series sweep this season, having started February with a 68-52 home win over TCU. Baylor was coming off 19-point home win over Kansas State.
TCU: The Horned Frogs got their third win at home this season over a Top 25 team. They have beaten a higher-ranked team in Dixon's four seasons, with their win over then-No. 1 Kansas in the Big 12 tournament three years ago.
The Bears will certainly fall out of the top two spots for the first time in eight weeks. They are still a top-five team.
TCU now plays the only team ranked higher than Baylor. The Horned Frogs are at No. 1 Kansas on Wednesday night.
Baylor plays its home finale Monday night against No. 22 Texas Tech.
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