Tonight was a night of firsts. For the first time since joining the Big 12 conference, West Virginia picked up a home victory over the Baylor Bears. And more importantly, they're now all alone at the top of the Big 12 conference for the first time since joining the league. The Mountaineers (19-4, 8-2) took care of business at home against Baylor (17-6, 6-4) by a score of 80-69 on Saturday night at the Coliseum.
The first half saw six lead changes. The game was tied at 21 with under seven minutes to go before West Virginia went on a 17-8 run to take a 38-29 lead into the break.
Devin Williams made a bucket on the first possession of the second half to give West Virginia a double-digit lead. That lead grew to as large as nineteen when the Mountaineers led 62-43 with 9:31 to go. Baylor battled back though, and a 17-6 run brought the game back to within single digits at 68-60 with three minutes to go. West Virginia was able hold them off in the end, never letting the lead get below seven.
Daxter Miles had his best game of the season and led the way with 20 points. Miles shot 6-8 from the field and 4-5 from three. Jaysean Paige had another efficient night offensively, scoring 17 on 6-11 shooting off the bench. Devin Williams followed up his 16 point, 18 rebound performance at Iowa State with 16 points and 7 rebounds tonight. Nathan Adrian again filled in for Jonathan Holton and again had a solid game. Adrian finished with 11 and 9 rebounds.
Ishmail Wainright and King McClue led Baylor with 11 each. Rico Gathers had only 5 points on 1-9 shooting. You can view the full boxscore here.
West Virginia shot the ball well tonight, shooting 49.1% from the field and 50% from three. They were actually outrebounded by Baylor 41-34 overall and 17-9 on the offensive glass.
On to the notes:
- Oklahoma's defeat to Kansas State means the Mountaineers are now in sole possession of first place in the Big 12. First place in the best conference in America. Not too shabby.
- Jonathan Holton was out again tonight. The rumor has been that his suspension is for three games. We'll see if he suits up on Tuesday.
- Both teams took care of the ball tonight. West Virginia had only 8 turnovers and Baylor had 10.
- Tonight was "Stripe the Coliseum" night and the fans did a pretty good job with it:
Thanks to the fans for participating in tonight's Stripe the Coliseum! #HailWV pic.twitter.com/EoS0zqUqbj— WVU Men's Basketball (@WVUhoops) February 7, 2016
Up next for West Virginia is a trip to Lawrence to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 4-3, but West Virginia won their last matchup in Morgantown 74-63. This will be the fourth consecutive game between the two teams where both were ranked in the AP top 25. The game will tip at 7:00 PM and will be televised on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.