So Close To An Upset

West Virginia had a perfect opportunity to give No. 6 Baylor its first loss of the season on Friday night in Las Vegas.

After the first 10 minutes, it looked like the unranked Mountaineers would match up well with the Bears and pull off an upset.

After regulation, with the game tied at 76-76, it looked like it was close to happening.

But, Baylor dominated the overtime, and that led to the Bears' 83-81 victory over the Mountaineers.

West Virginia played well for the first nine minutes of the game. In fact, the Mountaineers absolutely punched the Bears straight in the mouth early on.

After Baylor scored the first bucket, the Mountaineers went on a roll by scoring the next 10 points to take a 10-2 lead forcing a Baylor timeout.

Kevin Jones would heat up in the middle of the first half by scoring six straight points to give the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game at 22-13.

The Mountaineers would take a 24-13 lead before Baylor would come charging back. The Bears shut down Jones in the final nine minutes of the half after he scored more points than minutes played in the first 11.

The Bears ended the half on a 27-9 run to take a 40-33 advantage into the halftime break.

Despite the Bears taking a 10-point lead early in the second half, WVU would continue to fight behind its outside shooting. Threes from Jones, freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds and senior point guard Truck Bryant made it a five-point advantage from Baylor.

WVU fought all the way back to tie the game at 69-69 with less than four minutes to play behind two straight 3-pointers by Hinds and Bryant.

Bryant was fouled on a 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play with the score tied at 70. He hit all three free throws to go up by three – the team's first lead since 30-28 in the first half.

On the next possession, junior college transfer Dominique Rutledge hit his first two free throws of his WVU career to make it 76-73.

After a missed Baylor shot, Jones missed a long jumper, but Rutledge recorded the offensive rebound and got the ball back to Bryant to set up the offense.

With WVU at the line to seal the game, Hinds missed the free throw and Baylor's Pierre Jackson came back on the other end to sink a three and tie the game.

With a chance to win, Bryant tried a terrible jumper, and Baylor missed a jumper on the other end to send the game to overtime. It was the third overtime game of the season for the Mountaineers.

The Bears got an early lead in overtime on another Jackson three, and the Mountaineers never led.

Huggins wasn't going to get win No. 701 on this night – not against such a talented opponent.

This just in, though, West Virginia has the ability to play with the best teams in the nation – and there aren't that many this year in the Big East Conference. Pittsburgh proved that a little earlier this evening.

The Mountaineers took the No. 6 team in the nation to overtime. And, WVU is nowhere near reaching its potential.

West Virginia will be so much better in February and March. WVU sure looks like an NCAA tournament team to me.


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