Juwan Staten’s reverse layup with just 3.1 seconds to play propelled West Virginia to a 66-64 victory over Baylor Tuesday night at the Farrell Center in Waco, Texas. Staten led the Mountaineers in scoring with 15 points.
WVU (12-9, 4-4 Big 12) found itself in a very familiar scenario against the Bears, attempting to close a tight game down the stretch. The team was able to earn their third conference road victory of the 2013-14 season and even up their record inside the Big 12.
Staten also led West Virginia with nine assists, matching his career-high. It’s the fourth time this year he’s reached the mark.
The Mountaineers had four players in double figures in the win. Along with Staten, junior forward Remi Dibo came off the bench to score 13 points, while sophomore guards Eron Harris and Terry Henderson scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“Remi has shot the ball really well in practice, and we were going to give him some time,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “Then, he doesn’t go in and rebound. Give the kid credit. He came to me and said, ‘Give me another chance.’ I thought he played much better in the second half and made some big shots for us.”
West Virginia shot 24-for-60 from the floor Tuesday, good for 40 percent. The team also hit 8-of-23 3 attempts. The team battled major foul trouble for most of the evening. Forwards Brandon Watkins and Kevin Noreen both fouled out as part of West Virginia’s 20 total team fouls.
Baylor has now lost five consecutive games and sits at just 1-6 inside the conference. The Bears are just 13-7 overall after starting the season 12-1 and ranked as high as No. 7 in the country. Guard Brady Heslip led Baylor in scoring with 13 points including four 3s. Overall, the Bears shot 45 percent as a team and a solid 50 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 10 3-pointers.
The game featured just three lead changes and five ties. Baylor’s last lead came just five minutes into the game when the Bears led 9-8. WVU’s biggest lead was eight which occurred just after the five-minute mark in the game.
“We hung in there and kept fighting like we’ve done all year,” Huggins said. “I said before the game that we could have had at least six more wins if we finished. They understand. Hopefully this helps.”
Two big reasons for the final outcome Tuesday came in the turnover and rebounding departments. Baylor committed 15 turnovers while WVU had just five. The Bears out-rebounded the Mountaineers 37-27 in the game, but West Virginia held an 18-17 advantage on the glass in the second half.
Baylor had a chance to win the game in the final moments following Staten’s layup. Coming out of the timeout, Baylor’s Kenny Chery banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have been a game-winner. The basket was ruled after the clock expired and was no good.
The Mountaineers improve to 7-1 all-time in games played in the state of Texas and will return home to meet Kansas State Saturday afternoon in Morgantown.
“If you think about it, we’re 4-4 and three of our wins are road wins,” Huggins said. “We have to do a better job holding service at the Coliseum.”