Strong Second Half Lifts Baylor Over West Virginia

  • By John Antonik
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  • February 27, 2017 09:58 PM
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Eleventh-ranked Baylor used a 30-13 run over the remaining 8:33 to defeat 10th-ranked West Virginia, 71-62, before 8,203 fans at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, on Monday night.
The Bears (24-6, 11-6), trailing 30-28 at halftime, overcame a halftime deficit to win for the seventh time this year on Senior Night for guard Ishmail Wainright.
Wainright wasn’t much of a factor offensively, scoring just seven points, but he did grab eight rebounds, handed out two assists and made a pair of steals.
West Virginia (23-7, 11-6) overcame an early nine-point deficit and led 49-41 with nine minutes remaining after Jevon Carter got a short jumper to go down.
But after Carter’s basket, the Mountaineers hit a brick wall and looked more like a team that was playing the second-leg of a long Texas road trip.
“We outscored them and took the lead with a bunch of guys who come off the bench,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “And so I thought, we’re going to be okay.”
The next two minutes saw the Bears wipe out West Virginia’s lead on a couple of Johnathan Motley dunks and put-back basket by Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.
Motley’s layup with 7:26 remaining made it a one-point game, 49-48, and the next time down the floor Baylor got three cracks at scoring before Motley was fouled by Nathan Adrian after grabbing Wendell Mitchell’s missed 3.
Motley made both free throws to give the Bears their first lead of the second half, 50-49 - an advantage they would never relinquish.
For the next 5 ½ minutes, West Virginia’s only field goals were made by Carter at 6:03 on a short jumper, at 2:27 from 3 (his 1,000th career point) and with 31 seconds remaining on a driving layup.
By then, Baylor’s lead swelled to double digits.
West Virginia finished the game shooting just 37.3 percent - the second straight sub-40-percent shooting performance for the Mountaineers. On Saturday, WVU converted only 36.9 percent of its shot attempts in beating TCU, 61-60.
“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve settled too much (in half-court offense),” Huggins said. “We don’t drive it at the rim and pitch it.

Junior guard Jevon Carter led West Virginia with 18 points and nine rebounds in the Mountaineers' 71-62 loss to Baylor Monday night. Baylor Athletics photo.
Carter led West Virginia with 18 points, Tarik Phillip scored 12 and Elijah Macon added 11.
Baylor, which turned the ball over 29 times in the loss to West Virginia in Morgantown earlier this year, turned it over 18 times tonight but made up for it by destroying the Mountaineers on the glass, 43-23.
Carter, the team’s point guard, grabbed nine rebounds while the rest of the team managed to pull down only 14 boards.
“This team, the last two years, if we don’t rebound it we’re going to struggle,” Huggins said. “We’ve got to get more shots than our opposition. Our leading rebounder was Jevon Carter, who is 6-foot-1. Wouldn’t it look a little bit better if our 6-foot-9s maybe got a rebound? JC got more rebounds than our three bigs put together and that’s inexcusable.”
Motley led all scorers with 23 points while also grabbing eight boards. He was a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line.
Acuil Jr. scored 11 points and led the Bears with 10 rebounds.
“My whole message to them was we can’t play their game - we can’t play half court; we’ve got to play full court,” Huggins said. “But in fairness to them, there were some factors tonight that made it pretty hard to do.”
Tonight was West Virginia’s third straight game without second leading scorer Esa Ahmad, who is back in Morgantown rehabilitating a lower back injury.
Huggins is hopeful Ahmad will be ready to go for Friday night’s game against Iowa State, which will be the final home game for seniors Nathan Adrian, Tarik Phillip, Teyvon Myers, Brandon Watkins and James Long.
“We’re going to have to rebound from this and go get Iowa State,” said Huggins. “They’re playing really well right now.”
There are some tickets still remaining and those can be purchased by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office toll-free at 1-800-WVU GAME or by logging on to WVUGAME.com.