The court at the WVU Coliseum was filled with Mountaineer fans at the final buzzer after West Virginia upset No. 4 Baylor, 76-64, ending their regular season with a win while securing a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament.
Several Mountaineers came up big for their team, most notably Emmitt Matthews Jr. The sophomore forward finished with a team-high 18 points, his first double-digit scoring mark since Feb. 5 against Iowa State.
After Baylor jumped out to an early lead, Matthews. came out of his offensive shell to get the Mountaineers back in it. His spark helped the Mountaineers to make a massive 19-2 run, giving the Mountaineers the lead they wouldn’t relinquish until after halftime.
The lead swung back in favor of the Bears in the beginning of the second half. Guard Mark Vital started them off with lay-in, but a 9-2 run just minutes later put the Baylor lead at 7.
That’s when Matthews took over once again. He helped get the Mountaineers back within a bucket after scoring 5 straight points, setting the Mountaineers up for a 12-0 run to take back control of the contest. 10 of Matthews’s points came in the second half.
Oscar Tshiebwe and Miles McBride put the icing on the cake for West Virginia. After a slow start in the first half, Tshiebwe scored 12 in the second and added 8 rebounds. He totaled 16 points and 12 rebounds, his tenth double-double of the season. McBride added 9 second-half points for a game total of 12, while also grabbing 4 steals and dishing 2 assists.
Baylor fell victim to foul trouble in the second half as well. Tshiebwe and Derek Culver combined to draw 13 fouls by themselves, contributing to the 28 committed by the Bears. Three players — Flo Thamba, Mark Vital and Freddie Gillespie — would foul out before the game’s end.
The Mountaineers did have trouble with Jared Butler, who finished with 21 points and 2 assists. Davion Mitchell was the only other Bear to score in double-digits with 15 points.
With the win, the Mountaineers have solidified a top-6 seed in the Big 12 Tournament next week, giving them the first round bye. No. 1 Kansas has secured the top seed after defeating Texas Tech, putting Baylor as the No. 2. WVU now awaits the results of Texas’s game against Oklahoma State and Oklahoma’s game with TCU to determine their seed and opponent.