No. 16 TCU hopes to rebound from first loss
WACO, Texas -- When TCU and Baylor meet on Tuesday night, they will both be attempting to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after a rough start to Big 12 play last week.
No. 16 TCU, which shot up through the national rankings by winning its first 12 games this season, appeared to be shining in the spotlight when the Horned Frogs stretched out a 13-point lead against then-No. 12 Oklahoma on Saturday.
But TCU (12-1, 0-1 Big 12) couldn't contain freshman sensation Trae Young and the Sooners in the final 10 minutes and lost 90-89. The Horned Frogs have come to be known for tough, physical play under coach Jamie Dixon -- in his second-year with the program -- but Oklahoma ripped them for 33 points in the last 9:42.
"We're extremely disappointed to lose, but probably more so because of having a 13-point lead with 10 minutes left, having I guess a five-point lead with three minutes left and getting beat down the stretch on the boards," Dixon said. "It's a tough loss. It can't turn into two."
Dixon pointed to the inability to close out on the defensive end as the determining factor at the end of the Big 12-opening loss to the Sooners.
"We've got to get better defensively," Dixon said. "I've been saying it and saying it and saying it. The 12 wins have kind of hid that."
Meanwhile, Baylor (10-3, 0-1) has a more extensive list of problems.
The Bears played without key reserve forward Terry Maston for the last four weeks of nonconference play. Maston averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in the first six games of the season and was leading Baylor with 15 points when he suffered a broken right hand in a loss at Xavier on Nov. 28.
Then, on the afternoon of Baylor's Big 12 opener on Friday at Texas Tech, the team announced via Twitter that 7-foot forward Jo Lual-Acuil was out for the game with a left foot sprain. The announcement came with a possible upside that Maston could return versus the Red Raiders.
Maston did play, though ineffectively. He went 0-for-4 from the field with three rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Baylor struggled offensively with Lual-Acuil out and Maston severely limited with his shooting hand wrapped. Texas Tech held Baylor to one assist and the Bears gave up 14 turnovers.
As a result, the then-No. 22 Red Raiders pounded Baylor, 77-53.
Although it's still early in conference play, Baylor might already be in dire need of a confidence-boosting win.
Bears coach Scott Drew said Lual-Acuil will be a game-time decision and added that Maston has been medically cleared to play and should improve with some practice time.
"The sense of urgency will be better this game," Drew said. "It helps having (Maston) and Jo if he's able to go. (Maston) will be better than he was the last game and will continue to get better as we continue to get healthier and healthier."
TCU senior guard Kenrich Williams, who played high school basketball at Waco University High School, will try to keep a stellar season going in his hometown. Williams is averaging 15.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
Updated January 2, 2018