WACO, Texas (AP) — MaCio Teague was hitting 3-pointers, Freddie Gillespie was playing strong inside and No. 1 Baylor won again, even with leading scorer Jared Butler struggling from the field.
Teague scored 19 points with five 3-pointers, Gillespie had a double-double plus six blocked shots and the Bears beat TCU 68-52 on Saturday for their program-record 18th win in a row.
Butler and TCU guard Desmond Bane, two of the Big 12’s top scorers, both went scoreless in the first half. But the Bears (19-1, 8-0 Big 12) had the depth to make up for Butler’s shooting woes.
“It makes a huge difference knowing that we can rely on guys when it’s an off night or an off half for somebody,” Teague said. “We got other guys to step up in Devonte (Bandoo), and even Matt Mayer who came in and made a big 3 at the end of the half.”
Teague made consecutive 3-pointers in a 36-second span — after Bandoo had hit a 3 — to cap a 14-0 run in the first half that put the Bears ahead to stay. Mayer, who had an alley-oop slam on a pass from Butler early in the game, hit a buzzer-beating 3 from the right wing for a 35-24 halftime lead.
“That’s a blessing having four great guards. One can have a bad night, two can have a bad night and you still can win,” coach Scott Drew said. “You don’t put together streaks unless you have depth because not everybody’s on every night.”
Teague hit two more 3s early in the second half before TCU made a run.
Bane, who entered as the Big 12’s second-leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, scored all 14 of his points after halftime. During a 13-2 run by the Horned Frogs (13-8, 4-4), he scored six in a row before a dunk by PJ Fuller got them within six at 51-45 with 8 1/2 minutes left. That was the closest they would get.
“We eventually wore down and they stepped it up defensively and made it tough for us to get good shots,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “Our shot selection is something we’ve been working on and we’re trying to get better at but again as the game wore on it seemed to get worse.”
After the scoreless first half, Bane finished 5 of 14 from the field and ended up being the only TCU player to score in double figures. The Frogs did not score after his 3-pointer with 3:42 left.
Butler, who was the league’s fourth-leading scorer at 15.4 ppg, missed his first six shots. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting.
Gillespie finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, his eighth double-double for Baylor this season.
TCU’s Edric Dennis was hearing “air ball!” chants every time he touched the ball after missing the rim from long range on his first shot about 2 1/2 minutes into the game. He heard it again after Gillespie swatted away his shot with 10:15 left in the half, but just more than a minute later, Dennis swished a 3 from the left corner to tie the game at 15.
But after Kevin Samuel’s putback dunk made it 17-all, TCU missed its next nine shots until he scored again more than six minutes later.
TCU: The Horned Frogs have lost five of six games overall since their first-ever 3-0 start in Big 12 play.
“There’s a lot of things we can be better at and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Dixon said. “It’s getting later here and this puts us at 4-4 in conference play, and they simply outplayed us pretty much in every facet.”
Baylor: On the school’s 175th birthday, the Bears broke a tie for their longest winning streak. They started 17-0 during the 2011-12 season. … This is Baylor’s best conference start since being 10-0 in the Southwest Conference in 1948. … The Bears are 10-0 at home and haven’t allowed more than 63 points there. They have held six Big 12 opponents to 55 points or fewer.
The Bears are set for a third week in a row in the top spot when the new poll comes out Monday. They were No. 1 for only a week the only other season they got there, three years ago.
TCU plays on the road for the fifth time in seven games, Wednesday night at Oklahoma State.
Baylor is at Kansas State on Monday night.
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