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Thursday May 23 2019
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West Virginia falls at home to No. 19 Baylor

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Rico Gathers had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and No. 19 Baylor used a strong start to beat No. 15 West Virginia 87-69 on Saturday.

No. 19 Baylor, who is 3-0 in Morgantown, gave No. 15 WVU one of their worst losses of the season, using a 21-0 run early in the first half to take control of the game.

The Mountaineers returned home after suffering an embarrassing loss against Oklahoma, 71-52, and were hoping to grab a much needed win. However, the Bears rained on that parade as they were able to gain a huge lead in the first half, which set the tone for the rest of the game.

WVU got off to a quick start, scoring on an easy layup and forcing a Baylor timeout on their first inbounds attempt against the press.

But after the first timeout at 22 seconds, Baylor got its act together and dominated the Mountaineers, scoring 21 unanswered points. The Bears out-maneuvered WVU’s defense by spreading the floor and using their size against the Mountaineers guards. By the end of the first half, three of the Bears were in double figures as the visitors took a 46-30 lead into the half.

The Mountaineers struggled to narrow the lead as they could not score against Baylor’s zone defense. They also missed a lot of easy lay-ups and 3-point jumpers and by the end of the half, the Mountaineers were shooting 34 percent from the field and 30 percent from downtown.

WVU tried to claw themselves back into the game in the second half but it was a little too late. Baylor continued to impose its will on WVU and contested a lot of their shots. The Mountaineers missed jumpers and were unable to finish at the rim.

Baylor ended the game with shooting 54 percent from the field, 40 percent from the deep and maintained a big lead the rest of the way.

Senior forward Royce O’Neal and junior forward Rico Gathers were huge headaches for the Mountaineers defense, as they contributed to the versatility of the offense and were consistent in attacking the rim. Alongside three other Bears, they ended the game scoring double digits.

However, the United Bank Star of the Game was sophomore forward Devin Williams, who was instrumental in trying to keep the Mountaineers in the game. Williams got his 15th career double double and recorded a career high 20 points and equaled his rebound record with 15 boards.

Senior guard Juwan Staten only recorded 6 points from 2-7 shooting from the field but he did have 6 assists and put on a valiant effort to try keep WVU in the game.

Junior forward Jonathan Holton ended the game with just 2 points from 1-7 shooting.

Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins cited the team’s recent offensive struggles on their poor shooting and high number of turnovers. WVU committed 16 turnovers and 11 of them were committed by their bigs.

Most of our turnovers were from our bigs," Huggins said. "We don’t work on dribbling in the post. We don’t ever say catch it, dribble it and put your head down. I wouldn’t tell a fifth grade team that. But they did, so consequently there’s a huge [turnover] disparity. It’s been happening all year."

Huggins lamented that his team's “effort sucks” and that he was disappointed in their rebounding.

He also expressed his frustration at Holton's shot selection.

“Don’t shoot them in the game if you don’t shoot them in practice,” he said.

WVU will host Kansas on Wednesday at 7:00PM.

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