No. 10 West Virginia 2nd in Big 12 with win at No. 19 Baylor
WACO, Texas (AP) West Virginia coach Bob Huggins has a lot of things he wishes his team would do better, like making more shots and passing in transition.
The No. 10 Mountaineers, however, have the most important qualities going into the postseason.
''They've got a great propensity to rally and keep competing,'' Huggins said. ''Their will to win is pretty good. They're very resilient and they love to play.''
West Virginia wrapped up second place in the Big 12 Conference, its best showing in four seasons since moving into the league, with a 69-58 victory at No. 19 Baylor on Saturday. The Mountaineers have a four-game winning streak since losing three of their previous four games.
Picked to finish sixth in a preseason vote by the Big 12 coaches, the Mountaineers (24-7, 13-5) instead go into the conference tournament with the No. 2 seed.
''We wanted to go as No. 1, that was the whole idea,'' said Huggins when asked what the No. 2 seed meant.
Jaysean Paige had 14 points for the Mountaineers, while Tarik Phillip had 11 and Daxter Miles Jr. 10. Devin Williams struggled from the field shooting 1 for 9, but had 11 rebounds, while sophomore point guard Jevon Carter had eight points and eight assists with no turnovers.
Taurean Prince, one of five seniors in their final home game for Baylor (21-10, 10-8), had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mountaineers led for 28 1-2 minutes after not scoring until more than 5 minutes into the game.
West Virginia had a much better start to the second half, extending a 32-27 halftime lead to double figures with a 9-2 run. It was 41-29 after Paige's 3-pointer 4:22 after the break, and they had stretched that to a 16-point lead after Paige's two free throws with 12 minutes left.
When the Bears got back within five, after a stretch when Price had three consecutive 3-pointers in just over 2 minutes and Baylor made five in a row overall from behind the arc, they never got closer.
Carter's layup with 5 minutes left put WVU up 57-50, and started a game-clinching 7-1 run during which Baylor missed two shots and was 1 of 4 on free throws.
''I thought we'd win there. We weren't able to get over that hump,'' Prince said.
''We've got to move past this point,'' said Rico Gathers, another of the Baylor seniors. ''The regular season is over with and now it's time to play for something bigger than just one game.''
TAKE THE LID OFF
Both teams got off to horrendous starts, combining to go 0-for-9 shooting with four turnovers before Gathers scored on a layup 3:46 into the game for a 2-0 Baylor lead. ''It didn't look like anybody could make one,'' Huggins said.
Baylor missed its first five shots, as did the Mountaineers until Nathan Adrian's tip-in that came 5:03 into the game and started an 8-0 run. The Bears started 1 of 11 and finished shooting 37 percent overall (19 of 52), while West Virginia got up to 46 percent (21 of 46) by the end of the game.
BETTER ON THE ROAD
Baylor finished 4-5 at home in the Big 12. The Bears are the only one of the league's top seven teams finishing with a losing record in conference home games, while matching No. 1 and league champion Kansas with a 6-3 road mark.
West Virginia: Carter had eight points and eight assists without a turnover. ... Devin Williams struggled shooting, going 1 of 9 from the field, but had 11 rebounds to go with his six points.
Baylor: Gathers fouled out with 1:52 left, with only five points and three rebounds in his final home game. The senior did have another buzzer-beating shot though, with a long basket with his foot on the 3-point line to beat the shot clock. In the Bears' previous home game vs. Baylor, the 6-foot-8 forward's only career 3-pointer came at the buzzer ending the first half. ... The Bears finished 14 of 24 on free throws.
West Virginia: Plays Texas Tech or TCU in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament Thursday.
Baylor: Plays in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament Thursday.