West Virginia locked up the No. 2 seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament with a wild 69-58 victory at Baylor on Saturday. The team’s 13-5 league record is the program’s best since the Final Four run of 2010 and marks the second straight season that Bob Huggins has improved West Virginia’s Big 12 record by two wins or more.
Baylor and West Virginia have put up huge numbers as Big 12 foes on the football field, but Saturday’s contest was a much more low-scoring affair. In football last fall, both teams had touchdowns in the first three minutes while the regular-season finale on the basketball court had a 7-2 score seven minutes into the game.
Shots started to fall eventually and West Virginia’s narrow halftime lead turned into a one-sided affair with a 17-4 run in the first eight minutes of the second half. The Mountaineers were out here on Baylor’s senior day, pulling off fancy passes and extending the lead with monstrous dunks.
Then the Bears responded with a huge run of their own, just like they did against Oklahoma. After starting 0 for 9 on 3-pointers, Baylor hit four in a row. But just like the Oklahoma game the comeback effort fell short. Taurean Prince had 19 points as the only Bears player in double-figures but he did it on 5-of-17 shooting with eight misses in 14 free throw attempts.
So while West Virginia will play the winner of Texas Tech-TCU, Baylor has to wait just a few hours to find out its opponent for the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals on March 10. If Kansas beats Iowa State, Baylor gets the No. 5 seed and will play Texas. If Iowa State beats Kansas, Baylor falls to the No. 6 seed and has to play Oklahoma for its first tournament game.