WVU Basketball

Cold snap dooms Mountaineers

Lengthy drought in first half sets stage for Baylor win

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Another lengthy scoring drought led to West Virginia’s downfall against Baylor, as the Mountaineers fell 85-73 Monday at the WVU Coliseum.

West Virginia (9-10, 1-6) went a span of 8:25 in the first half without a field goal, and converted just two field goals in the final 10:12 of the period. During that same span, Baylor (12-6, 4-2) built a 17-point lead that proved insurmountable.

An electric alley-oop from James “Beetle” Bolden to Jermaine Haley with 10:12 left made the score 24-16 Bears, but it wasn’t until an Esa Ahmad layup at the 1:47 mark of the first half that WVU found its next field goal.

"We had shots," said head coach Bob Huggins. "They came in and played zone, we screened the zone. We missed point-blank shots."

After Baylor extended its lead to as many as 21 points early in the second half, the Mountaineers cut the deficit to single digits multiple times, but that first half dry spell proved too much to overcome.

WVU shot 39 percent from the field, and is now 1-7 this season when it shoots 40 percent or worse. The Mountaineers were also out-rebounded by the Bears, 45-35. 

"It seemed like they were way more athletic than we were, and it seemed like they were way more physical than we were," said Huggins. "That may not be the case, I’m just telling you what it looked like
to me. It looked like they were quicker to the ball. They did a better job creating space than
we did." 

With the loss, the Mountaineers fell back below .500 overall and have now lost six of their fist seven Big 12 contests.

Baylor redshirt senior Makai Mason led all players with 29 points. Bolden led the Mountaineers with 22, while Brandon Knapper contributed a career-high 15. Knapper hadn’t recorded a field goal since netting 12 against Jacksonville State Dec. 22.

The Mountaineers will face No. 1 Tennessee Saturday in Knoxville in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

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