Wed, 18 May 2022

No. 1 Baylor looks to get back on track at West Virginia

Field Level Media
17 Jan 2022, 16:19 GMT+10

No. 1 Baylor will try to get back to winning when it squares off against West Virginia on Tuesday in a Big 12 Conference game in Morgantown, W.Va.

The Bears (15-2, 3-2) almost certainly will relinquish the top spot in the AP rankings after losing twice at home last week -- first to then-No. 19 Texas Tech 65-62 last Tuesday, and most recently to Oklahoma State 61-54 on Saturday.

Baylor fell behind by double digits in the first six minutes Saturday and trailed by 18 points near the five-minute mark of the first half but fought back to within a point in the final minute of the game before succumbing.

The Bears missed 19 of their first 23 shots from the field.

"It was very difficult," Baylor guard LJ Cryer said. "We dug ourselves a big hole like that, and it makes it super hard to come back and win. If the hole wasn't that big, then we would have been able to win the game."

Oklahoma State has defeated Baylor in the past two meetings.

Cryer paced the Bears with 18 points Saturday while Matthew Mayer added 16. Baylor got just three points from James Akinjo, who had a glute injury late in the setback to Texas Tech and missed seven of his eight shots from the field before sitting out the final 9:49 of the game.

"In this league, everyone's banged up, and you only have so much margin for error," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "We've got to get him and Jeremy (Sochan) back. And in the meantime, figure out a better way to put guys in positions to be successful."

The Mountaineers (13-3, 2-2) will head home after an 85-59 loss at No. 9 Kansas on Saturday that snapped a two-game winning streak. West Virginia trailed by just two points at halftime but surrendered 52 points to the hot-shooting Jayhawks in the second half. West Virginia was outscored by 24 points after the break.

"Kansas ran through things all day," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said afterward. "They put five guys in who probably hadn't seen time since they got to school, and they ran right by us."

Malik Curry paced West Virginia with a season-high 23 points in the loss, with Jalen Bridges getting 12 points and 11 rebounds and Sean McNeil adding 10 points. Leading scorer Taz Sherman, who still isn't at full strength after a bout with COVID, managed a season-low five points on 1-of 9-shooting from the floor.

"We missed a bunch of shots and then got our heads down, and you don't want to get your heads down against (Kansas)," Huggins said. "When you're not as athletic nor as big and strong, you have to make compensations by playing harder and concentrating on blocking out every time, not just once in a while."

--Field Level Media

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