The Baylor Bears overcame another 2nd half deficit to secure a big late season win over 10th ranked West Virginia, 71-62. With a quick turn around after a tough road loss to Iowa State, and without junior point guard Manu Lecomte, the Bears put together a dominant 30-9 run to close out the home win on senior night.
With their second leading scorer, primary ball-handler, and best shooter in street clothes, the Bears turned to Jake Lindsey and little used Wendell "Chuck" Mitchell to be the point man for their offense. It worked, with Mitchell playing 19 active minutes and giving the Bears a spark with some solid defensive play and timely shots.
Johnathan Motley continued to put together his All-American campaign, posting a 23 point, 8 rebound night, with 19 of those points coming after halftime. With the Bears trailing 30-28 after the first 20 minutes, Motley would score the Bears first 8 points of the second half on 2 free throws, 2 dunks and a mid-range jumper.
However, the pressing Mountaineers would extend the lead to 49-41 with just over 9 minutes to go. From there, it was all Baylor as Motley continued to dominate the glass with Al Freeman hitting two big 3-pointers in his road back from suspension.
The run started with a Motley dunk and free throw, then a Jo Acuil put-back jumper cut it to three. Motley would follow with his own jumper, but then would secure an offensive rebound and draw a foul hitting both free throws to give the Bears a 50-49 lead. West Virginia guard Jevon Carter would answer with a beauty of a stop and pop in the paint to give West Virginia a 51-50 lead, but the Bears would asnwer with another Jo Acuil jumper with 5:28 left in the game.
After that, it was all Baylor, as Ish Wainright, the lone senior for the Bears, would get a driving layup and then Al Freeman would hit two three-pointers to push the lead out to 9 with under 3-minutes to play.
The story of the game for the Bears was their ability to control the glass, out-rebounding West Virginia 43-23, and securing 14 offensive rebounds. Baylor closes the regular season this Saturday with a trip to last-place Texas.
BAYLOR POSTGAME NOTES
• Baylor tied its 5th-most wins in a season in program history (24).
• Baylor reached the 11-win plateau in Big 12 play for the 4th time (12 in 2012, 11 in 2010 and 2015).
• Baylor is 6-3 vs. AP top 25 teams and 4-3 vs. AP top 10 teams this season.
• Baylor has 18 wins over ranked teams in the last 3 seasons (18-17 since 2014-15).
• Baylor used a 16-2 run from the 9:04 mark to the 4:09 mark to take a 57-51 lead.
• Baylor is 46-8 when taking a second-half lead since 2015-16.
• Baylor has faced a 2nd-half deficit and come back to win in 11 games this season.