Local Teams

National Basketball Association
West Virginia 69, Baylor 58
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 5, 2016
Where: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas
Officials: # Tom Eades, # Darron George, # Kipp Kissinger
Attendance: 7629

WACO, Texas -- It can be difficult to tell if stone-faced West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is pleased or ticked off.

But the West Virginia players could fly home from their final regular season game knowing their coach was at least smiling on the inside. The 10th-ranked Mountaineers finished strong with a 69-58 victory over 19th-ranked Baylor on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

West Virginia (24-7, 13-5 Big 12) won its final four games of the regular season, including a pair of wins over top 25 opponents, to finish alone in second place in the Big 12 behind conference champion Kansas.

"We're a better basketball team now," Huggins said about the way his team finished the season. "I think we're more versatile than what we've been."

Guard Jaysean Paige led West Virginia with 14 points and guard Jevon Carter had eight points and eight assists to wrestle a win away from Baylor on the Bears' senior day. Paige said the Mountaineers were driven to claim the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.

"We just knew what we had at stake," he said. "We just wanted that two seed, so we got it done."

West Virginia went on a 17-4 run to start the second half and established a 16-point lead when Paige hit a pair of free throws with 11:56 left.

Baylor coach Scott Drew saw his team's difficult shooting night compounded on the defensive end.

"They came out and they got buckets," Drew said. "For us to beat a team like that you've got to play better defense than that, especially when you're struggling offensively."

Baylor fought back, led by forward Taurean Prince, who hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 17-6 run. Bears guard Al Freeman hit two free throws to whittle West Virginia's lead to five points with six minutes left.

However, that is as close as the Bears (21-10, 10-8) would get.

Mountaineers guard Dexter Miles went into the lane for a couple of layups and Carter added another to help West Virginia reclaim a double-digit lead.

"(We have) got a great propensity to rally and keep competing," Huggins said. "I wish they'd make more shots and I wish we could pass in transition, but (we are) willing to compete."

Prince led Baylor with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but fellow senior Rico Gathers failed to establish his presence on senior day. Gathers finished with five points and three rebounds.

Drew said the emotions of the final home game of the season worked against the Bears.

"One of two things usually happen on senior night," Drew said. "Either you come out real emotional and you play real well or you come out real emotional and you try too hard and you don't make many shots. That's what happened to us."

The Mountaineers' intense defense held Baylor to 36 percent shooting and West Virginia scored 18 points on 16 Bears turnovers.

West Virginia scored the first eight points of the second half. Mountaineers forward Jonathan Holton threw down a dunk on a dish in the lane from Carter to take a 38-27 lead early in the second half.

Baylor made just one of its first 11 shots in the first seven minutes, but West Virginia took only a slight advantage as the Mountaineers did not shoot much better.

West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip hit a free throw to give the Mountaineers an 8-2 lead, the largest margin for either team in the first 20 minutes.

Baylor warmed up and grabbed a 16-14 lead when Prince completed a three-point play with 6:22 left in the first half.

But the Mountaineers took a 30-27 lead to halftime after Baylor shot just 31 percent and went zero for six from beyond the arc in the first half. West Virginia shot 39 percent in the first 20 minutes and Paige and Phillip each hit treys give the Mountaineers the edge.

NOTES: Baylor recognized five seniors on senior day, including F Rico Gathers and F Taurean Prince, who helped Baylor compile a 94-46 record in their careers. ... West Virginia notched its 1,700th win in program history. ... Baylor has a 7-3 lead in its all-time series with West Virginia. However, the Mountaineers swept the season series after the Bears claimed three wins against the Mountaineers in the 2014-15 campaign.
Top Game Performances
West Virginia   Baylor
Jaysean Paige 14 Scoring Taurean Prince 19
Jevon Carter 8 Assists Rico Gathers 2
Devin Williams 11 Rebounds Taurean Prince 10
Tarik Phillip 6 Free Throws Made Taurean Prince 6
Jevon Carter 3 Steals Al Freeman 2
Nathan Adrian 2 Blocks Rico Gathers 1
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
West Virginia 69 45.7 4-9 23-29 14 30 5 6 13
Baylor 58 36.5 6-18 14-24 10 29 5 3 16