On an eventful day at the WVU Coliseum, the West Virginia men’s basketball team finished off the regular season with a 76-64 win over the Baylor Bears.
To begin the festivities, Mountaineer senior Chase Harler got the crowd excited as he proposed to his girlfriend during the Senior Day celebration.
WVU (21-10, 9-9 Big 12) honored three seniors on the day. Along with Harler, guard Jermaine Haley and big man Logan Routt played in their final games at the Coliseum.
The first half started out disastrous for the Mountaineers, with Baylor (26-4, 15-3) going up 9-0 before five minutes had ticked off the clock.
The Mountaineers responded in a big way, going on a 19-2 run over the span of about eight minutes to take a 19-11 lead and forcing the Bears to take a timeout as the crowd rose to their feet.
After leading by seven with just under two minutes to play, Baylor got five quick points and went into the locker room only trailing by two at 24-22.
Baylor came out of halftime with the momentum, grabbing a two-point lead by the first media timeout and eventually extending the lead to seven with 13:38 remaining.
A three-point shot by Baylor sophomore Davion Mitchell made the lead five at 42-37 with just over 11 minutes remaining, but the Mountaineers took control after that, going on a 10-0 run to turn a five-point deficit into a five-point lead.
The lead grew to 11 with three minutes remaining after three straight baskets in less than a minute capped off by an emphatic slam from freshman Miles McBride. The largest lead of the game was 13 in the closing seconds.
“We had great days in practice preparing for this game,” Harler said. “I was a little nervous about the whole engagement thing, but it was a great day. I’m happy we won. Hopefully it gives us some momentum going forward.”
The Mountaineers were led by sophomore Emmitt Matthews, who contributed 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 2-of-3 from three.
Freshman Oscar Tshiebwe put in 16 points and 12 rebounds while finding his stroke from the free throw line, going 8-of-9.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers was McBride with 12 points and sophomore Sean McNeil with 11.
An announced crowd of 14,014 may have been one of the biggest keys in the game, noticeably bothering Baylor for much of the afternoon.
“Deuce had a dunk and I’ve never heard an environment that loud in my entire playing career,” McNeil said. “Playing in front of these fans is unbelievable.”
WVU will head to Kansas City, Missouri, for the Big 12 Championship next week. Their first game will be on Thursday and the opponent and time will be finalized after Saturday’s games have concluded.