MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Freshman Isaiah Austin scored 21 points and Pierre Jackson added 15 to help Baylor snap a three-game losing streak with a 65-62 victory over West Virginia Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, W.Va.
Slumping West Virginia has now dropped three straight and four of its last five.
“I feel better because the guys who didn’t want to play (didn’t play). I’m tired of watching guys throw the ball away and trot down the floor and not get back,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “If you do that you’re not getting back in.
“I’m tired of watching guys stand at the top of the key and not go and rebound the basketball for us. If they did that then they didn’t get back in and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’ve been closer to winning games with the guys who give us great effort than the guys who don’t give us great effort.”
West Virginia led by as many as seven early in the second half and had a 48-43 lead with 13:19 left when the Mountaineers went ice cold from the field. WVU failed to make a field goal for more than eight minutes until Eron Harris
’ layup with 5:44 remaining.
At that point the Bears were leading by five. Still, West Virginia battled back, getting five straight from Kevin Noreen
, including a big 3 from the wing with 1:36 left to pull the Mountaineers to within one, 63-62.
West Virginia (13-15, 6-9) got a defensive stop when Cory Jefferson’s missed shot attempt was rebounded by Deniz Kilicli
with 1:07 left. Twice, the Mountaineers had opportunities to take the lead and twice the Mountaineers were unable to knock down open shots. The second miss, a Harris 3 from the wing, came with 20 seconds left.
Jackson grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Harris with 17.9 seconds remaining. He converted both free throws to give the Bears a three-point lead, 65-62.
Without any timeouts remaining and needing a 3 to send the game into overtime, West Virginia ended up getting a 3-point shot attempt from Juwan Staten
that was partially blocked by Gary Franklin as time expired.
“In crucial plays they’ve got a 7-foot-1 guy who beats us off the bounce and we foul him and he makes two free throws,” said Huggins of Austin, who came into tonight’s game shooting just 57 percent from the line. Austin’s two free throws with 2:02 left gave the Bears a four-point lead. “I thought that was really a key play.”
led everyone with a career-high 25 points on 7 of 14 shooting. The freshman also cashed in on 10 of 13 from the free throw line.
Noreen contributed 10 points and nine rebounds, barely missing a double-double.
West Virginia shot 35.7 percent from the floor (20 of 56), including 17.6 percent from 3 (3 of 17). The Bears shot a little better overall (23 of 53) for 43.4 percent, but was just 4 of 18 from 3 for 22.2 percent.
“Three for 17 is not going to beat a whole lot of people, even though they were 4 for 18,” said Huggins.
Baylor (17-11, 8-7) was also out-rebounded 42-32.
Austin made 8 of 14 from the floor and hit 3 of 4 from the free throw line. A.J. Walton added 10 for the Bears before fouling out with 2:32 left in the game.
Brady Heslip, who burned West Virginia for 20 points in an earlier meeting at Baylor back on Feb. 13, ended the night with just 4 points on 1 of 8 shooting.
“It’s hard to control whether you shoot it in every time, but it’s not hard to control how hard you guard,” said Huggins. “It’s not hard to control if you block out your man and they got too many second and third shots when they needed to. We just didn’t go and get anybody.”
West Virginia is back at it on Saturday afternoon at Kansas in a 2 p.m. game that will be televised nationally on CBS.
After that, WVU has one regular season road game remaining at Oklahoma on March 6 before wrapping up the regular season at home on Saturday, March 9 against Iowa State at the WVU Coliseum.