Mountaineers Defeat Baylor with Late Heroics
|Field Goal %||35.8||31.1|
|Three Point %||38.1||40.0|
|Free Throw %||72.7||64.3|
The #2 Wet Virginia Mountaineers found a way to win their fifteenth game in a row, against a scrappy Baylor team.
Baylor came out the gates with a lot of energy. They won the opening tip and Mark Vital immediately laid it in to take the lead. They would go up 5-0 after a King McClure three. You could tell from the outset that Baylor came to play, and this was going to be your typical Big XII battle. “You have no choice when you play West Virginia. You come to compete, or you get embarrassed. We came, we competed, left it all out on the court.” Said Baylor Head coach Scott Drew after the game.
The Bears went 3-3 from behind the arc to start the game, and would hold a nine-point lead, 13-4, in the first five minutes of the game. Baylor would hit their first four threes in the game.
West Virginia would keep fighting throughout the first half, never allowing Baylor to pull away. Sagaba Konate would tie the game up with a jump shot, with a 1:50 left in the first half before McClure would hit a three on the ensuing position to give them a three-point lead.
Beetle Bolden would drain a three with 23 secs to go in the half, tying the game up at 29, and they would head into halftime tied.
West Virginia would shoot 30.3% (10-33) from the field and 42.9% from three (6-14), while Baylor shot 45.5% (11-24) and 71.4% (5-7) from behind the arc.
The Mountaineers were relying on their defense to keep them in the game the first half, turning the Bears over 11 times.
Baylor’s Manu Lecomte lead all scorers with 9 points, and West Virginia’s Daxter Miles Jr led the Mountaineers with 7.
In the second half, neither team could find their shot. “Quite frankly neither team shot the ball very well, and when that happens, it’s kind of an ugly game. I think both teams are capable of scoring the ball. Both of us just had bad games.” Said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.
Baylor shot 27.6% (8-29) from the field, 21.4% from three, and West Virginia was 9-28 (32.1%) and 4-11 (36.4%), in the second half.
Teddy Allen averaged 19 points in the first 3 Big XII games, but was not a factor in this game. Allen picked up 2 quick fouls in the first half and was quickly pulled from the game. It was Déjà vu for Allen in the second half.
Instead, it was Chase Harler providing a spark off the bench, and he made his impact in the second half. He didn’t score a bunch of points, but had some nice steals, deflections, rebounds, and hit some big shots, in times where the Mountaineers needed a play.
The Mountaineers were first on the board in the second half, and took their first lead of the game.
Baylor would tie the game back up with a par of free throws from Lecomte, on the following possesion. Although the Bears would tie the game up a few times in the second half, the Mountaineers would never trail.
Lecomte would tie the from the free throw line 51-51, with 2:23 left in the game, then the following possession got a little sloppy. There were three straight turnovers, before Beetle Bolden would pick the pocket of Vital, then Daxter Miles would save it out of bounds, giving the Mountaineers the ball with 1:12 to play in the game.
That would lead to Jevon Carter making a three, with a hand in his face, giving the Mountaineers the lead 54-51 with 56 seconds left to play in the game. “We were trying to run that three-man stuff and we weren’t doing a very good job.” Said Huggins, “He just took it upon himself to make a play.”
West Virginia would have two chances to build on the lead to end the game at the free throw line, but Senior guards Carter and Miles missed the front ends of one and ones to keep Baylor in the game. It was that kind of night, they had been closing games out all year from the line.
Daxter Miles would go 1-2 from the charity stripe, giving West Virginia a four-point lead, then Baylor guard Jake Lindsey would hit a three, cutting the lead to just one with six seconds left.
Jevon Carter would get fouled before the Mountaineers could get the ball in and he would make both free throws, extending the lead to three with four seconds left.
Scott Drew would run the play his dad, Homer Drew, ran at Valparaiso in that last second shot against Ole Miss on their Sweet Sixteen run, but inside the Coliseum, they came up short.
West Virginia found a way to win a game when nothing was going right. Shots weren’t falling, their playmaker as of late, Teddy Allen, only played five minutes, and a team that was shooting 74.7% from the free throw line coming into the game, couldn’t even make those.
Bob Huggins has said several times this year and he said again after the game “We had to grind it out”.