|Field Goal %||50.0||38.7|
|Three Point %||29.6||23.5|
|Free Throw %||61.3||61.8|
After knocking off the No. 7 team in the country, the West Virginia Mountaineers fell to the Baylor Bears 85-73 inside the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers struggled in the paint, getting out-rebounded by 10 and the inability to finish around the rim, costs WVU their second Big 12 win of the season.
Baylor’s offense jumped out to a 12-5 lead with ease – on back door cuts and capped off with a pair of threes from Jared Butler and Makai Mason.
The Mountaineers tightened up on defense and seven quick points from Beetle Bolden kept WVU within four, midway through the first half. Bolden continued to attack the rim and finished the half with 15 points – 10 of them coming from the free throw line (10-10).
Makai Mason hit mid-range jumpers and floaters for 16 first half points, as Baylor soared up to a 17-point lead late in the half. West Virginia moved the ball well and had good looks around the rim but was unable to finish, shooting 8-24 at the half.
The Bears dominated the glass, grabbing 12 offensive rebounds for 16 second chance points taking a 15-point lead into halftime.
“It seemed like they were way more athletic than we were, and it seemed like they were way more physical than we were.” Describe West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins “That may not be the case, I’m just telling you what it looked like to me. It looked like they were quicker to the ball. They did a better job creating space than we did.
West Virginia’s struggles continued into the second half as their deficit fell to 21 before WVU head coach Bob Huggins decided to turn up the pressure and threw the press at the Bears. It was effective, Press Virginia forced 11 turnovers to trim the Baylor lead to 9 with 8:16 left to play in the game.
Brandon Knapper aggressiveness on both ends of the floor and all 15 of his points coming in the second half gave the Mountaineers a chance to win the game. However, missed opportunities at the free throw line, especially missing the front end on a one-and-ones, not winning the boards and missed layups the Mountaineers and never got any closer than eight points of the Bears.
“We had shots.” Commented Huggins after the game. “They came in and played zone, we screened the zone. We missed point-blank shots. We went to the free-throw line and we were 1-for-2.” Continued Huggs. “I don’t understand how we can continually miss the shots that we miss. We were 10-for-26, 10-for-26 in layups, shots around the rim. Ten-for-26. We got pretty good shots.”
Throwing the press at Baylor got the Mountaineers within striking distance after trailing by 21. Even though it was effective, it’s not going to be a staple of the defense any time soon.
“I can’t let Beetle Bolden foul out.” Explained Huggins. “He made two great plays at the rim, great plays at the rim. And I guess I understand that you don’t think a little guy like that can make plays above the rim, but he does make plays above the rim. I don’t think I can absorb that much foul trouble that we absorbed before, and, quite honestly, they are officiating the game so much differently”