Makai Mason’s Big 12-high 40 points drown Horned Frogs 90-64

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Makai Mason made nine three-pointers en route to a career-high 40 points against the Horned Frogs. Photo by Heesoo Yang

Makai Mason scored 40 points and the Bears shot 55.6 percent as a team in TCU’s 90-64 loss to Baylor. The loss drops the Horned Frogs to 0-5 on the road in Big 12 play.

“It was their night. It wasn’t ours,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We’ve got to get better. We haven’t played well on the road.”

TCU saw a much different Baylor team than the one they defeated 85-81 at home on Jan. 5.

“When anybody makes 15 threes, it does something to you,” Dixon said.

After TCU struck first with a layup from guard Alex Robinson, Baylor took over offensively. The Big 12’s leading team in scoring during conference play shot 52 percent in the first half, including 6-for-11 from deep. This scoring barrage was led by Mason, who had 13 points (3-for-4 from three) in the first half alone.

“We knew he had been playing well coming into it,” guard Desmond Bane said. “We wanted to run him off the three-point line.”

TCU struggled offensively against the Bears, shooting just 37 percent in the first half and 42 percent in the game. Photo by Heesoo Yang

Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs were never able to find rhythm on offense in the first half. TCU shot just 37 percent in the half, including 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Bane, the Horned Frogs’ leading scorer (14.9 points per game) entered the second half 0-for-3 with zero points. This was his second-straight game to go scoreless in the opening half.

Bane would finish the game with just five points. He said after the contest that he would look to be more aggressive in the upcoming games.

One bright spot for TCU in the first half was the efficient play of Alex Robinson. The Fort Worth native finished the half 3-for-3 with nine points. This total gave him 1,000 points for his TCU career, becoming the 36th Horned Frog to reach that mark.

Guard Alex Robinson finished with 16 points and became the 36th player to reach 1,000 points in TCU program history. Photo by Heesoo Yang

Any hope of a comeback in the second half was quickly shattered by Mason right out of the gate. The Yale grad-transfer caught fire, making his first eight shots (six threes) and scoring 22 of the Bears’ first 24 second-half points. He would finish 14-for-20, including nine made three pointers. Mason’s 40 points were not only a career high but also the highest total reached by a Big 12 player this season.

“I just kind of locked in,” Mason said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me.”

The Horned Frogs actually shot 48 percent in the second half (12 percent higher than the first half), but were greatly overshadowed by the Mason-led Bears, who shot 59.4 percent as a team. While TCU only turned the ball over nine times in the game, they were outrebounded 40-26 by Baylor, leading to 18 second-chance points for the Bears.

Robinson, forward Kouat Noi, and forward JD Miller had combined for 48 points in the contest, while the rest of the Horned Frogs’ only produced 16. Robinson added six assists. He is now just three shy of Corey Santee’s program record (575) with 572 assists in his Horned Frog career.

Kouat Noi made a three-point attempt for the 20th-straight game in the loss. Photo by Heesoo Yang

After the loss, the Horned Frogs are now 15-6 on the season and 3-5 in conference play.

TCU will return home on Wednesday, Feb. 6, for their first matchup with Oklahoma State this season. Tipoff in Schollmaier Arena is set for 8 pm, and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

“It’s one loss. It’s a big margin, but it still counts as one,” Dixon said. “We gotta go win at home.”