Who’s that in 1st place of the Big 12? West Virginia, after beating Baylor

When West Virginia lost senior forward Jonathan Holton because of a suspension for a violation of team rules, the immediate results were not promising. A double-digit loss to Florida painted a picture of a Mountaineers team that could not press like it did with Holton, and it was worth considering that maybe this was the blow that could knock West Virginia from the Royal Rumble-style battle for the Big 12 title.

Well, West Virginia has no interest in losing ground in this race, especially to a team that it lost to three times last season. The Mountaineers had an advantage for most of the game and held off one furious late charge from the Baylor in order to win 80-69 at home.

The win marks the end of a fantastic week that started with the rare win at Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum. After Saturday’s win and Oklahoma’s loss at Kansas State, West Virginia sits alone in the top spot of the Big 12 standings with an 8-2 conference record.

Devin Williams followed his fantastic double-double in Ames with 16 points and seven rebounds against Baylor. Daxter Miles Jr. was the team’s leading scorer with 20 points on a nice shooting night. Baylor isn’t on any kind of freefall after a pair of losses to Texas and West Virginia, but the Bears have plenty of room to improve with winnable games ahead against Kansas State and Texas Tech.

West Virginia has won two straight and is right in the thick of the Big 12 race. (USATSI)

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