Four different Mountaineers finished the game with double digit scoring totals, and West Virginia overtook first place in the Big 12 with an 80-69 win over Baylor at the WVU Coliseum.
Oklahoma, who had been atop the league standings with West Virginia coming into this game, fell to Kansas State in Manhattan tonight. The Mountaineers are now alone atop the Big 12 with an 8-2 conference mark and 19-4 record overall.
Sophomore guard Daxter Miles Jr. said there were plenty of emotions flowing in the West Virginia locker room following the win.
“There was a lot of emotion; a lot of emotion. But we just can’t let up. That was the main focus in the locker room,” he said.
Not only did West Virginia climb to the top of the Big 12 tonight, the Mountaineers got a measure of revenge against a team that had beaten them three times a season ago.
Miles said there was no need for added motivation heading into this matchup, and that the Mountaineers had been anticipating this chance at redemption for quite some time.
“The date was definitely circled on the calendar. We felt like this year we had to get our edge back. I think we lost our edge for a few games, and coach Huggs will tell you. We’re trying to live up to that,” he said.
After struggling to hit at a consistent rate from 3-point range all season, Miles sunk four-of-five shots from beyond the arc tonight and finished with 20 points, four rebounds and two assists.
He wasn’t the only one with a hot hand for West Virginia in this game though. As a team, the Mountaineers shot just under 50-percent for the game, making 27-of-55 shots from the field.
Junior forward Nate Adrian continued his run of improved play with 11 points and nine rebounds, finishing just one rebound shy of what would have been his first career double-double.
In the build-up to this contest, much was made of the individual matchup between big men Devin Williams and Rico Gathers. Williams got the better of Gathers on this day to say the least, tallying 16 points and seven rebounds, while Gathers managed just five points and seven boards.
Despite playing just 20 minutes because of foul trouble, Jaysean Paige poured in 17 points off the bench shooting six-for-11 for the game.
Tarik Phillip was also somewhat limited by foul trouble tonight, as he played just 19 minutes and scored seven points, but the Mountaineers were able to get by without a hefty contribution from the usually reliable guard.
Up next for the Mountaineers is a trip to the vaunted Phog Allen Fieldhouse and a date with the Kansas Jayhawks. WVU beat Kansas 74-63 a little over three weeks ago, and the Mountaineers know they are in for a fight Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to have a good two practices to go into Allen Fieldhouse. We know that’s a tough environment, but we’ve just got to have two good practices so we can go play our butts off,” Miles Jr. said.