Monday, March 27, 2017

No. 12 WVU takes on No. 9 Baylor in final road matchup

Elijah Macon (45) celebrates a basket during WVU's 89-68 win over Baylor on January 10, 2017. (Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

Elijah Macon (45) celebrates a basket during WVU’s 89-68 win over Baylor on January 10, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

WACO, Texas–Coming into the season, both Baylor and West Virginia University had hopes of stopping Kansas’ reign atop the Big 12 but both fell short.

Now with two games left, the 12th-ranked Mountaineers and the ninth-ranked Bears are battling it out for their positions in the Big 12 Tournament.

Last time both these teams met in Morgantown, WVU (23-6, 11-5 Big 12) stunned then-No.1 Baylor (23-6, 10-6) by pummeling the Bears 89-68.

The Mountaineers are playing tough basketball of late, winning five of their last six games.

WVU outlasted TCU 61-60 on Saturday when Daxter Miles Jr. (8.7 points) made a free throw with 4.8 seconds remaining.

Jevon Carter (12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds) dropped 15 points against the Horned Frogs and is 13 points from reaching the career 1,000-point mark. The junior is seventh in the nation in steals with 81.

Carter has scored 93 points and has grabbed 36 boards over the last five games, shooting 50 percent or better in four of those five games.

Nathan Adrian (10.4 points, 6.2 rebounds) had 13 points and eight rebounds against TCU.

The Mountaineers lead the country in turnover margin (9.1), turnovers forced (21.6) and steals (11.0). WVU ranks third in scoring margin (18.1), fourth in offensive rebounds (14.6), 15th in assists (17.1) and 14th in scoring offense (84.5).

Tarik Phillip (12) guards Baylor's Jonathan Motley (5) during WVU's 89-68 win over Baylor on January 10, 2017. (Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

Tarik Phillip (12) guards Baylor’s Jonathan Motley (5)
during WVU’s 89-68 win over Baylor on January 10, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

In the first meeting this season, the Mountaineers forced Baylor into 29 miscues.

Without a healthy Manu Lecomte (12.4 points), WVU’s press could force problems for the mighty Bears.

Baylor head coach Scott Drew says the junior is a game time decision.

“We’ll wait and see at game time,” he said. “He reinjured that ankle at the beginning of the second half at Iowa State. He wasn’t good at the beginning of the game either.”

The Bears have lost five of eight and their last win against a ranked opponent was against then-No. 25 Kansas State on Jan. 14.

Baylor forward Jonathan Motley (17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds) stands at 6-foot-10, 230-pounds.  Alongside the 7-foot, 220-pound forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. (9.3 points, 6.8 rebounds), the two look to dominate the Mountaineers down low.

Tipoff for the game is at 7 p.m. on Monday and can be seen on ESPNU.

 

Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS

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