FORT WORTH (AP) – Brady Heslip and the Baylor Bears know their best chance to get into the NCAA tournament is win every game they have left on their schedule.
Heslip helped them take a first step toward that, scoring 24 points while making eight of Baylor’s season-high 16 3-pointers as the Bears led throughout in a 91-58 victory over TCU on Wednesday night.
“We just came back and regrouped and said we have eight games left, and we’re just going to try and make history,” Heslip said. “We started a one-game winning streak. Everybody played really well, everybody played together. We executed, we played tough defense, we rebounded. We need to bring that total effort every game now for the last seven.”
The Bears (15-9, 3-8 Big 12) scored the game’s first eight points in less than 2 minutes, with Royce O’Neal and Heslip hitting 3s before Isaiah Austin converted a TCU turnover into a jumper.
Baylor had lost seven of eight games since beating its instate rival a month and a day earlier. At that point, the Bears were 13-2 and ranked No. 7 in the country.
“Hopefully, we’ve got some shots left in us for Saturday,” coach Scott Drew said. “We’ve been working real hard and it doesn’t seem like we’ve been rewarded. It’s good that the guys can feel good for a night.”
They shot 53 percent overall (31 of 58) and 59 percent on their 3-pointers (16 of 27).
TCU (9-14, 0-11) never got closer than six points after that opening stretch.
Rico Gathers had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Baylor. Austin added 14 points, including a 3-pointer for the 7-footer, while Royce O’Neal and Cory Jefferson each had 10 points.
The Bears had a 45-18 rebounding margin, with their 19 offensive rebounds one more than TCU’s total. That was similar to the previous meeting, an 88-62 victory when Baylor had a 54-25 edge and had 24 offensive boards.
Kyan Anderson had a season-high 29 points for the Horned Frogs, the fourth time he has scored at least 20 points in the last six games. Amric Fields had 10 points.
“He needs help,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said of Anderson, who showed no ill effects from a sore shoulder.
“A game like that doesn’t really necessarily matter. … I want us to win every game,” Anderson said. “To me, I felt like I could have done more to come out with the win.”
Down 49-38 at halftime, TCU had the opening possession of the second half. The Frogs had a turnover that led to Jefferson’s dunk on a pass from Austin.
When Austin blocked a shot by Anderson with about 9 minutes left, Kenny Chery got the rebound on a break and got to the free-throw line with a teammate ahead of him. Chery instead passed back to Heslip, who made a 3-pointer with Chery already getting back on defense before the ball even went through the hoop.
That made it 74-55 and was already the 13th made basket from beyond the arc for Baylor. TCU’s previous three opponents — Texas Tech, Texas and Iowa State — combined for 13 made 3s.
Baylor last had 16 3-pointers in its opening-round NIT victory over Long Beach State last season. The school record is 20, set at TCU on Feb. 14, 1995.
TCU went more than 9 ½ minutes without scoring in the second half, after Anderson’s layup with 10:24 left got the Frogs within 68-55. The Frogs were down 91-55 before Michael Williams hit two free throws with just under a minute left.
Injury-plagued TCU is 2-27 in Big 12 games since joining the league last season, with its only wins coming over Kansas and Oklahoma last year. The Horned Frogs lost two big men to injuries even before the season began, are waiting on two transfers who have to sit out this season and had another player who became academically ineligible after playing 14 games.
“Bottom line is Baylor is better than we are. A lot of people are better than we are,” said Johnson, the second-year Frogs coach who for a rare time this season was upset with his team’s effort. “This is the hand we’ve been dealt, but we’ve still got to compete.”
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