WACO, Texas – Baylor coach Scott Drew quickly expressed how proud he was of his players for how they stepped up after big man Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua got hurt during the game.
Now the reigning national champion and 10th-ranked Bears likely will have to get through the rest of this season without their high-energy player known as “Everyday Jon,” who suffered a gruesome left knee injury in the first half of an 80-63 victory over No. 20 Texas on Saturday.
“Bittersweet as a coach. I think all parents can relate to, whenever you see your child or one of your players get hurt like that, and they’ve worked so hard,” Drew said. “Don’t know the severity of it, but obviously didn’t look good.”
Adam Flagler had 20 points with four 3-pointers as all five Baylor starters scored in double figures. Flagler made his first five shots, including three 3s, while scoring 13 points in the first half when the Bears (21-4, 9-3 Big 12) had two huge spurts — first a 12-0 run, and later a stretch of 13 consecutive points — to go ahead for good.
Andrew Jones had 11 points for the Longhorns (18-7, 7-4), and five players finished with eight points. Their most lopsided loss in coach Chris Beard’s first season coming five days after a home win over eighth-ranked Kansas, which last Saturday had a 24-point home win over Baylor.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua, a 6-foot-8 forward from Cameroon, was going down the court after a missed shot by the Bears when he got hurt. There was no contact when his left leg turned awkwardly and he crumbled to the floor near midcourt with just over eight minutes into the game. He put no weight on that leg when helped to the locker room.
“I saw a bad kind of awkward fall and then I saw an elite competitor, you know, obviously in some pain,” said Texas coach Chris Beard, who quickly went on the court to check on the Bears player. “Tough guys like that don’t show that kind of emotion unless something’s going on. ... I can’t tell you how much respect I have for him as a player. ”
Drew, who mentioned the possibility of an ACL injury, didn’t actually see the play until watching a replay after the game.
“That’s one of those plays you don’t like looking at,” Drew said.
James Akinjo added 15 points with seven assists and six rebounds for the Bears. Flo Thamba, the 6-foot-10 forward forced into extended play with Tchamwa Tchatchoua hurt, had his first career double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) and four blocked shots in a career-high 30 minutes. Kendall Brown and Matthew Mayer both had 10 points, and Brown also had eight rebounds.
The Longhorns had an early 8-4 lead and Baylor had missed six of its first seven shots before a 3-pointer by Flagler. That was the first of eight points in less than a minute to start Baylor's 12-0 run.
Tchamwa Tchatchoua grabbed a defensive rebound that led to a 3 by Mayer. Sochan then had a steal on a bad pass by Timmy Allen, and Akinjo made an alley-oop pass to Tchamwa Tchatchoua for an easy basket only minutes before getting hurt.
Flagler had seven points in the 13-0 run by the Bears that put them up 31-15 after two free throws by Dale Bonner.
Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers in a 10-0 run for the Longhorns midway through the second half. They were within 62-51 after two free throws by Timmy Allen with 9:18 left but never got closer.
“They came ready to play, we didn’t. We let the Kansas game be our championship,” Longhorns guard Courtney Ramey said. “We talked about it ever since that game, we needed this game just to stay in the (Big 12) race. They wanted it more, and it just showed. ... I think all 13 players can say we played soft today,”
Texas: The Longhorns shot a season-low 32.8% (20 of 61). ... The Longhorns, set to also play their next two games against ranked teams, have gone 3-2 their last five games — all against Top 25 opponents. All the wins were at home, and both losses were on the road.
Baylor: The Bears shot 50% (26 of 52) from the field. ... LJ Cryer missed his fifth consecutive game, and seventh this season, because of recurring issues with his right foot after surgery last summer.
Baylor will extend its school-record streak of consecutive AP polls in the top 10 to 44 in a row. It will be the 52nd consecutive poll overall with the Bears ranked. The Longhorns likely will drop a couple of spots, but the Kansas win should be enough to keep them from falling out of the poll.
Baylor presented do-everything forward Mark Vital his national championship ring during a timeout in the first half. After bypassing a chance for a sixth season with the Bears, Vital spent this NFL season as a tight end on the practice squad for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Texas: At No. 12 Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
Baylor: At No. 9 Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25