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First Half Scoring Drought Dooms West Virginia Against Baylor

A strong second half effort wasn’t enough to get the Mountaineers over the hump against the Bears

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing we can point to as a key factor in the West Virginia Mountaineers (9-10, 1-6) less than stellar season, it’s the fact that this team just can’t capitalize when they have an opportunity. Monday night’s showing against the Baylor Bears (12-6, 4-2) gave us another piece of evidence to add to the case file, with the Mountaineers falling 85-73 in Morgantown.

West Virginia went over 8 minutes in the latter part of the first half without a made field goal, allowing the Bears to build a 17 point lead that the Mountaineers would not be able to overcome.

Baylor extended their lead early in the second half, but the Mountaineers turned up the pressure and managed to cut a 21-point deficit to single digits with just over 8 minutes remaining.

A controversial call on a ball knocked out of bounds pulled the momentum right out from under West Virginia’s feet, and the first half scoring drought came back to bite them.

The Mountaineers shot 39 percent from the field, and is now 1-7 on the season when they shoot less than 40 percent.

James Bolden led the Mountaineers with 22 points, while Brandon Knapper turned in a career-high 15. Esa Ahmad finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds, and Derek Culver had a rough night with just 3 points and 8 rebounds.

The Mountaineers return to action on Saturday when they face No. 1 Tennessee in Knoxville in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. That game tips off at 4:00PM EST and will be televised on ESPN.