Baylor cruises past West Virginia

For the second game in a row, West Virginia fell behind early and lost in blowout fashion – this time falling 87-69 at the Coliseum to Baylor.

The Bears opened the game on a 23-3 run and took the crowd out of the game in the first few minutes, and put the Mountaineers in dangerous territory as the game continued to slip more and more out of their grasp.

“I don't know what it is,” said freshman Jevon Carter. "We have to keep working hard. We can't keep losing like this.

West Virginia, once again, struggled to take advantage of Baylor’s 2-3 zone defense. The Mountaineers struggled mightily shooting the ball from the field. After Devin Williams opened the game with the first of his 20 points just a few seconds after the opening tip, WVU missed its next nine attempts from the field and didn’t make another shot until almost midway through the half when Tarik Phillip made a layup at the 10:55 mark.

On top of their struggles shooting the ball, West Virginia didn’t help its cause much by turning the ball over as much as it did. Although the Mountaineers were able to force 19 turnovers, they committed 16 of their own – a handful of which helped lead to 13 Baylor points.

“I’ve said this from the beginning, we have to turn people over. But we can’t turn it over,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “Turnovers were 19-16. When we win, they’re 19-8 or something like that. That’s 14 more shots we would get.”

It wasn't like WVU didn't try to work its way back into the game by stringing together brief glimpses of promise against the Bears.

Phillip's layup that halted the early Baylor run allowed WVU to work into its press against BU, which then caused the Bears some problems. Later in the half, an 8-0 run made up of two threes by freshman Jevon Carter and an Elijah Macon layup had cut the lead to 14 and it looked like the Mountaineers were beginning to find some life.

But then, as they seemed to do any time West Virginia began building some momentum, Baylor struck back quickly.

"We tried to come back in spurts and it wasn't working because they were already jelling and they were comfortable," said freshman guard Daxter Miles. "We were trying to do it, but we've just got to play harder."

The highly anticipated matchup between WVU big man Devin Williams and Baylor's Rico Gathers did not fail to disappoint. While Gathers got the best of the battle as he led his team to the win, the two went back and forth against each other for most of the contest. Gathers, who has emerged this year as one of the best and most consistent rebounders in college basketball, finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds, while Williams' had 15 rebounds to go with his 20 points to lead the Mountaineers.

(Gathers) and Devin are two grown men," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "I don't know if anything hit on the Richter Scale when they collided but a couple of those collisions were monsters."

Although the Bears struggled at times to hold onto the ball, when they did break the press they had a lot of success in getting into breaks and making open shots - which is something Drew said he emphasized heading into the game.

"If you miss those shots, West Virginia gets into transition and that's hard on our defense," Drew said. "If you make them, it keeps you going. Taking the right shots and making them is very important against the press.

"They were 6-for-23 (from three-point range), if they were making those then it's a different game. Some nights you make them, some nights you don't."

Carter and Miles were the only other Mountaineers in double figures. Carter finished the game with 13 points, while Miles had 10.

"We're going to be alright," Huggins said. "The most positive guys in the locker room are the freshmen.

"We started out (rebounding well and not turning the ball over) and now we got away from them. The opposition has stepped up, but that doesn't mean you stop what you're doing."

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