The West Virginia Mountaineers (15-1, 4-0) narrowly escaped disaster this evening in Morgantown, with a 57-54 win over the Baylor Bears (11-5, 1-3 Big 12).
Baylor won the opening tip and immediately started hammering the Mountaineers. The Bears opened up a 13-4 lead with five minutes off the clock, but West Virginia fought back to close that lead to three points midway through the half.
In a bit of a scary moment for West Virginia, Sagaba Konate - who already had three blocked shots - went up to block another one and rolled his ankle when he landed on a teammate. Konate went to the locker room, but returned later in the half after having the ankle looked at by trainers.
Baylor continued to lead the Mountaineers, 26-20, at the under 4:00 timeout. One more monster block from Konate later - leading to a Chase Harler three-pointer - and the Mountaineers had the momentum on their side. Konate would tie the game with jumper just inside the arc. The two teams would each hit a three in as the half came to the close, and the score remained knotted up at 29-29 at the half.
The second half was more of the same from the two teams, this time with the Mountaineers maintaining the narrow lead for the largest part of the half.
The game went to the under 4:00 media timeout tied up at 49-49, and it was at this point in the game that my brain shut down entirely. The officiating crew spent the final ten minutes of the second half reviewing calls every two to three minutes, and the natives in Morgantown began to grow restless.
Jevon Carter nailed a three, after an amazing save on the other end of the court by Daxter Miles, to break the tie with 57 seconds left on the clock. Manu Lecomte tried some heroics of his own on the other end, while trying to draw the foul, but missed on the wild shot. West Virginia put the Bears away at the free throw line, and escaped with their nation’s leading win streak intact.
Lamont West and Daxter Miles led the West Virginia with 12 points each. Jevon Carter added 8 points and 5 assists, while Konate finished with 8 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks. Teddy Allen finished the game without recording a point, largely due to early foul trouble.
West Virginia goes on the road to Lubbock, Texas on Saturday, where they’ll take on the No. 8 Texas Tech Red Raiders. That game will tip off at 2:00PM ET on ESPN.