WACO, Texas — Baylor’s relentless pursuit of perfection continued on Saturday as the No. 1 Bears took care of No. 14 West Virginia, 70-59, moving the Bears to 12-0 in Big 12 play and one step closer to an undefeated conference slate.
Baylor (23-1, 12-0 in the Big 12) kept an impressive streak of firsts alive for the program, which should be No. 1 in both national polls for a fifth straight week come Monday.
The Bears now have the third-best start to Big 12 action in league history (16-0 Kansas in 2002 and 13-0 Kansas in 2010). Baylor has a 12-game winning streak in league action for the first time ever and is now 12-0 at home and has trailed by no more than two points in any game. The Bears never trailed the Mountaineers on Saturday.
The victory was also Baylor’s sixth over a ranked team this season, the most of any team in the nation. And the Bears did it without guard MaCio Teague, who missed the game with a right wrist injury. Baylor head coach Scott Drew said that Teague could have played today, had the inflammation in the wrist gone down. For now, his status is day-to-day.
Even without Teague, the Bears were dominant, setting out to an 11-point lead by halftime and led by Jared Butler, who had 21 points, along with five 3-pointers. He said after the game he didn’t feel the pressure to pick up the slack in Teague’s absence. But it sure worked out that way.
Butler wasn’t alone. Davion Mitchell scored 13 points. Matthew Mayer came off the bench to score 13 points and grab 8 rebounds, along with a thunderous dunk that set off the Ferrell Center in the first half. Mayer was rather matter-of-fact about the dunk afterward. But his efficient 17 minutes off the bench was critical for the Bears.
The Bears shot great all evening, finishing off 52 percent from the floor and ending any hope of West Virginia getting back into the game with a 62 percent clip in the second half. In fact, Baylor’s 14-3 run to start the second half put the game away, as the Bears were up 47-25 with 11:39 left.
West Virginia’s (18-7, 6-6 in Big 12) woes on the road continued. Since the Mountaineers’ road win at Oklahoma State on Jan. 6, they haven’t won another Big 12 game away from Morgantown. Saturday’s loss was their fourth straight away from home, leaving them 1-5 on the road in the Big 12 (WVU opened Big 12 play with a loss at Kansas) and West Virginia has another three road games ahead — at TCU on Feb. 22, at Texas on Feb. 24 and at Iowa State on March 3.
Saturday the Mountaineers failed to score at least 60 points on the road for the second straight game and for the fourth time in Big 12 action. The Mountaineers shot 34.5 percent from the floor, committed 22 turnovers and, despite a 8-0 run to end the first half, were still down 11 at the break.
West Virginia didn’t score a field goal until the 10:14 mark of the second half, as Oscar Tshiebwe finally scored a basket to end an 0-for-11 streak to start the half. Tshiebwe ended up with a double-double, 11 points and 12 rebounds. But Taz Sherman came off the bench to lead the Mountaineers with 20 points.
Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins was at a loss after the game. He needed a win on Saturday to tie North Carolina’s Dean Smith for No. 6 all-time in coaching wins in NCAA history. That will have to wait at least one more game.
During the first half Baylor and ESPN announced that College Gameday would come to Waco and broadcast its Saturday morning pregame show from the Ferrell Center before the Bears hosted the Kansas Jayhawks. Drew commented about the honor.
Baylor has one game before hosting Kansas, as the Bears travel to Oklahoma on Tuesday. West Virginia hosts Oklahoma State on Tuesday.
**We now have FREE Big 12 Forums here at Heartland College Sports. Go sign up here and join our conversation! **