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Streaking teams meet when No. 1 Baylor visits TCU

Sportsnaut
Jan 4, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA;  Baylor Bears forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (23) scores over Oklahoma Sooners guard Jordan Goldwire (0) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (23) scores over Oklahoma Sooners guard Jordan Goldwire (0) during the second half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Baylor will put its undefeated record on the line again Saturday when the Bears visit TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

Baylor isn’t the only team risking a snapped streak, though. The Horned Frogs are unranked but have won seven in a row.

Winners of 20 straight — in a streak dating back to last season’s march through the NCAA Tournament field — Baylor (14-0, 2-0 Big 12) is coming off an 84-74 win over a feisty Oklahoma team on Tuesday.

The Sooners nearly matched the Bears in scoring in the second half, but the Bears led by at least five points after the midway point of the first half.

Still, the Bears had 20 turnovers to just 12 assists. Baylor helped cover up its ball movement woes by crushing the Sooners on the glass, outrebounding them 34-16.

Five Bears players had at least four rebounds. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, who averages 7.9 boards per game this season, had six on Tuesday, as did Matthew Mayer and Flo Thamba.

“Proud of our work on the glass. You’d always rather teach after a win than a loss,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We’ll get better in a lot of areas, hopefully, but at the same time really pleased with 19-0 second-chance points, which was the difference in the area.”

James Akinjo tallied a season-high 27 points and added five assists and four rebounds for Baylor, while Adam Flagler chipped in a season-best 22 points. Akinjo leads the team in scoring and assists at 14 points and six per game.

“We’re fighters,” Flagler said. “We have a lot of guys that are willing to put their best foot forward and finish the game. That’s really all that matters. The Big 12 is the best conference in the country. Night in and night out, there’s always going to be a really tough battle we face.”

Saturday’s game will be the conference opener for TCU (10-1), after its contests against Kansas and West Virginia were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. TCU hasn’t played in more than two weeks, and now faces the reigning national champs.

“We can make excuses or make the best out of it. Our intention is to make the best out of it,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We’ll see how it plays out. It doesn’t really matter what we think. We just have to be ready to go and be the best that we can be.”

The Horned Frogs last played on Dec. 21, defeating Grambling 90-55. Charles O’Bannon led TCU with 19 points, adding eight rebounds and three assists. Emanuel Miller notched his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 boards.

TCU’s only loss this season came against Santa Clara in November. The Horned Frogs have since beaten the likes of Utah, Texas A&M and Georgetown, among others.

Mike Miles Jr. leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game, while Miller is at 11.3. Miller is also the team’s leader on the boards at 6.8 rebounds per game.

TCU is 85-98 all-time against Baylor in a series that dates back to 1910. Saturday’s contest will mark the first time the No. 1 team in the country has visited TCU since Dec. 1, 2003, when a top-ranked Kansas team came to Schollmaier Arena.

–Field Level Media