No. 21 West Virginia 71-60 win ends Baylor’s 5-game streak
WACO, Texas (AP) Daxter Miles Jr. stepped up with a kind of play West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has become accustomed to seeing, and it was needed after the No. 21 Mountaineers saw their 28-point get trimmed to 12.
Miles made a 3-pointer while being fouled with just under 7 minutes left, then added the free throw. That started a quick 9-1 spurt to regain the momentum, and they went on to a 71-60 win Tuesday night to end Baylor’s five-game winning streak that had been the longest in the Big 12 Conference.
”I’m glad it calmed (our players). It didn’t do much for me. He’s made big plays,” Huggins said. ”He’s a four-year starter. He’s made big plays from the day he walked on campus. We expect it from him.”
Baylor (17-11, 7-8 Big 12) was within 55-43 after Terry Maston’s jumper. But that was the last of eight straight points for the Bears that capped off a 21-5 run before Miles took a pass from Esa Ahmad and made the 3-pointer while being fouled by Nuni Omot.
”That was a dagger,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. ”You spend that much energy, and that’s a four-point play. So, again, the moral of the story is you can’t get down 48-20.”
The Bears had defeated Top 10 teams Kansas and Texas Tech in their previous two home games. But their only lead against West Virginia came when Jo Lual-Acuil made Baylor’s first shot. He finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Manu Lecomte added 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting for Baylor.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers defense smothered Baylor in the backcourt and frontcourt. Their press made it difficult for the Bears to simply get the ball in bounds, and they intimidated Baylor shooters by blocking 13 shots and altering several others.
Baylor made its first shot, then went 1 for its next 15 in falling behind early. The Bears, who trailed 40-18 at halftime, didn’t attempt or make enough 3-pointers (3 for 9) to keep the West Virginia big men from clogging the paint.
LOT OF WHISTLES
There were 46 personal fouls in the game, leading to 28 free throw attempts for Baylor and 22 for West Virginia. Huggins was ejected at the end of the Mountaineers’ last game, when Kansas had a 35-2 advantage in free throw attempts. Huggins was asked if the referees got too involved in the Baylor game.
”They must not have been flying out of Waco. They must have been staying the night, because they missed whatever flight they had,” Huggins said. ”I’m having a hard time figuring out what it is. Somehow we need to get a little more universal and consistent.”
There were five technical fouls assessed during a three-minute span in the second half, with double techs called twice. With 7 1/2 minutes left, Baylor’s Terry Maston and Konate were chest-to-chest with each other after a missed shot. Drew was whistled for a tech with 6:23 left. The other double techs came with 4 1/2 minutes left when Omot and Ahmad were apparently having words while standing by each other during a free throw.
FIRST GAME FOR HIS FATHER
Omot reunited with his father Kwot on Sunday for the first time since 1996, when they were in a Kenyan refugee camp. A video of the reunion was shown during the game, after which Kwot and Nuni’s brother Aba were shown in the stands and received a standing ovation from Baylor fans. ”It was emotional, obviously, since I haven’t seen him in 21 years,” Nuni said. ”This was his first time seeing me play. … To have him here meant the world to me.”
Omot had seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in 22 minutes before the technical foul that was his fifth foul in the game.
West Virginia plays its next two games at home, Saturday night against Iowa State and then the home finale next Monday night against No. 6 Texas Tech. The Mountaineers have already lost to both of those teams on the road.
Baylor heads about 100 miles north to play Saturday at TCU, which beat the Bears 81-78 in overtime in Waco on Jan. 2.
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