West Virginia presses Baylor into submission in 78-65 victory

March 08, 2018
  • By Tim Griffin
  • Diehards

KANSAS  CITY, Mo. — West Virginia’s frigid stretches throughout the season have become a running joke among the Big 12’s cognescenti.

The Mountaineers stumbled into another hole early in Thursday’s game against Baylor, missing 14 of their first 18 shots  as they fell into an early 10-point deficit.

But then Esa Ahmad started producing. The results helped stake the Mountaineers to a xx-xx victory over Baylor.

The Mountaineers took control with a 20-5  run to end the first half.  Baylor helped them along with one field goal during a stretch of 8 minutes, 46 seconds with 7 turnovers to boot.

Jevon Carter’s shot from about 60 feet at the halftime buzzer gave the Mountaineers 29-23 lead at the break.

And back-to-back threes by Dax Miles during a 13-second span early in the second half pushed the lead to 13 points and punctuated a 11-0 spurt in 99 seconds.

The fearsome “Press Virginia”  defense did the rest, forcing the Bears into a season-worst 22  turnovers.

It was West Virginia’s third victory over Baylor this season.

The victory is the Mountaineers’ seventh in their last 10 games and boosts their record to 23-9 for the season.

Baylor, which lost its fourth game in its last five, drops to 18-14.

3 who mattered

The turning point

West Virginia erupted  on an 11-0 spurt early in the second half  capped by back-to-back threes by Miles. The run extended its lead to 40-27 with 16:33 left in the game.  Baylor came no closer than nine points during the rest of the game.

3 observations

The number: 15

The feeding frenzy sparked the Mountaineers to a 20-5 edge in points off  turnovers. Not only does it expose  how effective West Virginia was in capitalizing on Baylor mistakes. But it also shows how the Bears sputtered turning West Virginia’s 15 turnovers into much offense.

What’s next for West Virginia  basketball

The Mountaineers qualified  for  the Big 12 semifinals for the third consecutive season as they will hook up with Texas Tech. The two teams split during the regular season with each winning on its home court.
Both programs are looking for their first Big 12 tournament championships.
The victory over  Baylor should improve the Mountaineers’ seed and give them a strong chance to finish with a top-four seed when they are released on Selection Sunday.

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