The West Virginia men’s basketball team knew they were going to be getting a stern test going on the road against the top ranked Baylor Bears, and the result was a 70-59 loss that proved to be WVU’s third straight and dropped the team to 3-6 on the road this season.
Baylor (23-1, 12-0 Big 12) started out the game smothering the West Virginia (18-7, 6-6) offense while slowly pushing the lead to 19 at 33-14 with three minutes remaining until halftime.
The Mountaineers got a little momentum before the break, going on an 8-0 run and cutting the lead to 11 at 33-22 going into the locker room.
That momentum was quickly expunged when Baylor scored the first eight points of the second half and eventually going on a 20-3 run, giving WVU their largest deficit of the season at 28 with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
WVU did not have a field goal in the second half until freshman Oscar Tshiebwe banked in a mid-range shot with 10:14 remaining. Tshiebwe finished the game with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Mountaineers did go on a run to cut into the lead, led by junior Taz Sherman who didn’t score in the first half but ended the game leading the team with 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 5-of-9 from three. At that point, however, the game was already decided.
The Bears were led by sophomore Jared Butler, who scored 16 points in the first half on his way to a game-best 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 5-of-7 from behind the arc.
Sophomores Davion Mitchell and Matthew Mayer each contributed 13 points apiece to round out the Baylor players in double figures.
The Mountaineer defense continued to struggle in road games this season, allowing the Bears to shoot 51% from the field. They had 21 assists on 29 made field goals.
The offense for the Mountaineers struggled as well, going against a Baylor defense that has been as strong as anyone’s this season. WVU shot 34% from the field and had 22 turnovers, tying a season high.
The Mountaineers will be back home on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. WVU beat Oklahoma State earlier this season in Stillwater by 14, the Mountaineers only road win in Big 12 play this season.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.