MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and No. 14 West Virginia earned itself sole possession of first place in the Big 12 when they defeated No. 15 Baylor 80-69 in front of 14,069 raucous fans on Saturday night.
The Mountaineers (19-4, 8-2 Big 12) took over first place by themselves after No. 1 Oklahoma lost at Kansas State earlier Saturday evening.
“It’s good to have 19 wins at this stage in the season and it’s even better to be 8-2 in the best conference in America,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said.
“I think Nate played really, really well again tonight and I think he’s getting more and more comfortable (as a starter),” Huggins said. “Getting 11 and nine is a pretty good day’s work in 32 minutes.”
King McClure and Ishmail Wainwright scored 11 points apiece. Terry Maston and Taurean Prince each added 10 for the Bears.
The Mountaineers shot 49 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Miles was sizzling from 3-point range, connecting on 4-of-5.
Baylor (17-6, 6-4) shot 38 percent from the field, nine percentage points below its season average. Prince and Rico Gathers made six of 26 from the floor.
WVU held Baylor big man Gathers to just five points. Adrian, Williams and Esa Ahmad limited the damage by the 6-foot-8, 275-pound forward.
Gathers averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds in three games against the Mountaineers last season.
Ahmad stuffed Gathers’ layup attempt and Miles drained a 3-pointer at the other end. Williams gave WVU its largest lead of the night when he made jumper from the top of the key to put the Mountaineers up 19 with 9:28 left.
The Bears cut WVU’s lead to eight with a 15-4 run over the next four minutes and it was a seven-point game at 1:05 when Wainright swished his second 3. Miles, Tarik Phillip and Paige all made free throws that were able to keep the Mountaineers in front.
Baylor had previously owned the Mountaineers, taking seven of the previous eight contests. The Bears had beaten West Virginia by an average of 11 points in their three previous trips to the Coliseum.
Adrian got the nod in place of Jonathan Holton, who missed his third straight game because of a suspension.
WVU will look to stay at the top of the Big 12 on Tuesday when the Mountaineers travel Allen Fieldhouse to take on No. 7 Kansas.