TCU men’s basketball earned their second straight home upset Saturday with a 75-72 come-from-behind victory over No. 2 Baylor.
After being down by as many as 11 in the first half, the Frogs went on an 18-1 second-half run led by senior guard Desmond Bane to tame the Bears.
“My teammates have the most confidence in me and support, so it makes it easy to keep going,” Bane said. “I just stayed aggressive, and they started falling.”
The win was TCU’s first win over a top-2 opponent since March 2017.
“It’s huge,” Bane said about the win. “We’ve always known that we could do things like this.”
The senior finished with a game-high 23 points, 19 of which had come in the second half alone.
The win was TCU’s second straight over a ranked opponent at home, as the Frogs defeated No. 17 West Virginia last Saturday. The Frogs are now 7-9 in Big 12 playing, sitting at seventh in the conference standings.
Bane didn’t do it all alone, though. First-year P.J. Fuller poured in a career-high 21 points on the night.
“I think PJ was huge for us,” head coach Dixon said. “He drived. He got to the basket, and that opened up the floor for us too.”
Despite being short-handed with injuries to both R.J. Nembhard and Francisco Farabello, TCU came out swinging. After Bane hit his first two shots, guard Jaire Grayer nailed a three to give the Frogs an early 7-3 lead.
The Frogs let their lead slip away by scoring just three points in the next eight minutes of play, going 1-for-10 from the field as a team during the period.
While Baylor did take the lead, they were unable to run away with the game. The Bears started the game 0-for-9 from behind-the-arc.
The Frogs trailed 28-21 at the halftime break while shooting just 27 percent as a team to that point.
Grayer and Baylor center Freddie Gillespie were tied for a game-high eight points after the first 20 minutes.
Fuller exploded in the second half. After hitting a pull-up jumper, he hit center Kevin Samuel with a no-look pass for an easy dunk.
“That was really exciting, but I was only able to do it because my teammates believed in me,” Fuller. “Also, Frog Army–they definitely gave us energy tonight.”
Moments later, Fuller went on a personal 5-0 run, leading a spurt that pulled TCU within five, 39-34, with 14:13 to play.
He then hit a strong layup and-one to cut the Frogs’ deficit to four.
“I tell him all the time how special he can be,” Bane said of Fuller. “It’s just a matter of sticking with it.”
TCU would continue to surge, hitting four of their first six three-point attempts of the second half. With 8:19 to play, Samuel hit two free throws to give the Frogs a 50-49 lead, their first since the opening six minutes of the game.
From there, Bane took over, putting TCU up by as much as 12 at one point and lighting the crowd up.
Baylor wouldn’t give up, pulling within three with 22 seconds left, but a breakaway dunk by Fuller followed by clutch free throws from guard Diante Smith held off the Bears’ late run, sealing the win for TCU.
The Frogs had scored 54 points in the second half alone, two more than they scored all game in their first match-up with Baylor.
“We looked like an old team in the second half with seven guys,” Dixon said.
Grayer joined Bane and Fuller in double digits for TCU, finishing with 13 points to go with nine rebounds.
Gillespie finished the contest with 18 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks for Baylor.
Up next, TCU looks to keep rolling as they head up to Lawrence, Kansas, to face No. 1 Kansas. Tipoff is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m.