Baylor opened the game hot, jumping out to a 15-6 lead at the first media timeout as West Virginia struggled offensively. A trio of threes from the Bears would go on to grow that lead to 23-12 with 12:33 remaining in the half.
West Virginia would finally respond after taking the early haymaker from the Bears, as Taz Sherman went on a 6-0 run by himself to close the lead to five. Baylor would grow their lead back to 10, but a three from Jalen Bridges shifted momentum back in West Virginia’s favor.
The Mountaineers went on a 8-0 run over the final 5:33 of the half, closing the lead to one point, but a buzzer-beating three from Jared Butler gave Baylor a four-point advantage heading into the locker room.
Butler opened the second half with a layup to give the Bears a six point lead, but the duo of Jalen Bridges and Sean McNeil would chip away at Baylor to tie the game at 40-40 with 17:13 to play.
Another three from Jared Butler put the Bears back on top, but McNeil would explode for a long two, followed by back-to-back threes to give West Virginia their first lead of the game at 50-43 with 13:54 to go.
The two teams would continue to trade body blows in what looked like a Final Four-worthy game, but the Mountaineers continued to hold on to their lead as the game went on.
West Virginia held a one point lead as the end of regulation neared, but Miles McBride would split a pair of free throw attempts. Out of a timeout, Baylor tied the game back up at 81-81 on a driving layup from Butler, sending the game to overtime.
Despite their Jared Butler fouling out during overtime, Baylor would take the lead in the final minute as the Mountaineers ran out of gas. The Bears would knocked down their free throws late, escaping with the win and their first conference championship since 1950.
Sherman led all scorers with 26 points. McBride finished with 19 points, 8 assists. Sean McNeil added 18 points, shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Freshman Jalen Bridges finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, while Derek Culver had 9 points, 9 rebounds.
West Virginia returns to action in the Coliseum on Thursday, when they’ll take on the TCU Horned Frogs. That game is scheduled to tip at 7:00PM ET and will be exclusively broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
Despite what ESPN’s Joe Lunardi said earlier today, West Virginia is still positioned to be a two-seed when the NCAA tournament brackets are announced. Lunardi tweeted a rundown of this evening’s games, saying the Mountaineers were in a must win situation against the Bears if they wanted to stay on the two line. Lunardi suggested the Houston Cougars would jump West Virginia in the event of a loss, which is absurd. West Virginia has more quadrant 1 wins than Houston has in quadrant 1 and 2 combined, and zero non-quadrant 1 losses. It would take the Mountaineers dropping a game to either TCU or Oklahoma State and then getting bounced out of the conference tournament in their first game to move West Virginia out of that two-seed.