WVU no match for Baylor without seniors

West Virginia knew it would have its hands full when it had to take on Baylor without senior point guard Juwan Staten.

Staten has been the Mountaineers' leader for the last two seasons and has always seemed to shine when the best teams were across from him. But even without him, WVU has shown at times that they have been able to survive and put up a good fight against teams.

But the game changed even more three minutes into Saturday's game when Gary Browne went down with an ankle injury that head coach Bob Huggins said after the game was "at best" a high ankle sprain that the veteran coach said "does not look good."

At this point things looked even tougher for the Mountaineers who had to turn to their pair of freshmen guards - Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles - to be able to carry things for the team. And, to be fair, they did a great job of stepping in and filling in their shoes. But West Virginia was probably not going to beat the Bears anyway as they were hitting on all cylinders for the second time this season against the Mountaineers.

WVU wasn't able to cause as much havoc on the defensive end of the floor, forcing Baylor to turn the ball over just eight times - the first time the Mountaineers haven't forced at least 10 turnovers in a game since last year's NIT loss to Georgetown.

At the end of the day, the Mountaineers just didn't have an answer for the Bears without Staten and Browne on the floor.

Of course, Carter and Miles stepped up and did a great job replacing them. They became just the fourth and fifth freshmen guards to play more than 35 minutes in a game since Huggins took over at West Virginia.

Carter made seven threes to lead WVU with 25 points while Miles was the other Mountaineers in double figures, and if nothing else they showed that there is a good chance they can be the backcourt pairing of the future. They seemed calm under pressure and were prepared to take over when they needed to be the ones Huggins had to turn to.

But as they get into the postseason, it's going to be very important for the Mountaineers to turn things around with or without those senior guards.

The Mountaineers are on the cusp of being a legitimate threat to go deep in the Big 12 tournament as well as the NCAA tournament, and it has been a pretty common thought all season that they had the depth to be able to handle some injuries and things of that nature that pop up throughout the course of a tough Big 12 season. But now, if either of these injuries last an extended period of time into the postseason, it will test the biggest thing that this team will have to prove it has without Staten or Browne.

Does it have the leadership to be able to survive?


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