Waco, TX – No. 7-ranked Baylor returned home after a road loss to No. 11 Texas Tech. Baylor was looking to complete a season-sweep of TCU and stay in striking distance for a Big 12 title. TCU was looking to rebound off a close loss to Iowa State and get going as they begin a stretch of seven games in 14 days to end the season.
Without junior forward Jonathan Tchatchoua, out after last Saturday’s season-ending knee injury, and not having sophomore guard LJ Cryer (foot injury) or junior guard Adam Flagler (knee discomfort) Baylor would suit only seven players. But those seven Bears showed they were still strong enough to dominate the Horned Frogs from the tip-off. Led by the freshman dual Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown, the Bears would stifle the Horned Frogs with intense defense and cruise to a 72-62 win.
Baylor would let TCU know how this game would go down from the tip-off going on a 7- 0 run to start the game sparked by senior Flo Thamba’s early four points. Thamba would finish two rebounds shy of a double-double, with 10 points and eight rebounds. He played strong post defense and crashed the offensive glass giving the Bears what they needed inside. TCU would go on a 6-point run to cut the Bears first-half lead to six (29-23) charged by strong off-ball play of junior forward Emmanuel Miller (eight first-half points) andh sophomore guard Micah Peavy’s seven first-half points. They kept the Horned Frogs within 10 points,(33-23) going into halftime.
Sochan would show up big on both ends of the floor. His impact on defense can go unseen because it wasn’t flashy. He accepted the call to bang in the post by guarding the 6-11 freshman post Eddie Lampkin Jr. and sophomore Souleymane Doumbia. Sochan would display his offensive versatility by finishing in traffic around the rims, showing good footwork and soft touch at the 15-foot range, and proving why many like him in this year’s NBA draft. Sochan finished with a game-high 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field, 5-for-5 from the free-throw line, six rebounds and two assists. The Bears would also see their other talented freshman Brown display why he is a projected lottery pick. He used his length and athleticism on defense, got out in transition, slashed, and found open teammates. Brown would finish with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.
TCU struggled to keep pace, with Baylor falling behind as much as 21 points. Peavy was a bright spot for the Horned Frogs as he was more aggressive offensively than he had been all year. He would score out of spot-up situations by luring defenders to contest his shot and then attack getting to the rim or his midrange pull-up. Peavy finished with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field, 4-for-5 from the free-throw line and six rebounds. Miller and leading score Mike Miles would join Peavy to challenge the Bears. Miles would try to get going in the second half, but the defense of James Akinjo made it difficult for him to find a rhythm or get open looks at the basket. Miles would finish the contest with 13 points on 6-for-17 shooting from the field, 1-for-6 from beyond the arc and five assists. Miller would join Peavy with a team-high 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field and seven rebounds.
Baylor’s Matthew Mayer would add 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field, 2-5 from beyond the arc and five rebounds. Akinjo had 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting from the field and eight assists.
Baylor travels to face Oklahoma State on Monday, February 21st, while TCU hosts West Virginia.