29 turnovers. That one stat tells everything about this game and how Baylor’s undefeated run ended in Morgantown. Baylor fell and is now 15-1 on the season.
Baylor opened the game with nine turnovers in less than six minutes. The Bears traveled, they made bad passes, and West Virginia forced them out of bounds. It was a brutal start.
The Bears finished the first half with 16 turnovers. They shot well and provided solid half-court defense, but West Virginia had 10 more shots in the first half, which led to a 39-32 West Virginia lead.
West Virginia opened the second half and pulled away quickly. Baylor narrowed the deficit to six, but the game collapsed quickly. An Ish Wainright inbound pass was stolen and led to a Mountaineer 3-point make. Then, Manu Lecomte was unable to split the defense on the next possession, and with 15:50 left, the Bears trailed by 13.
Baylor rotated in different lineups. They stayed big, they went small and they gave minutes to reserve players Chuck Mitchell and Nuni Omot. Both of those two played pretty well but 29 turnovers.
West Virginia ended up 9 of 20 from 3-point range. They had 14 offensive rebounds, which was nearly as many as Baylor. They were better than Baylor in just about every facet of the game tonight.
Baylor was going to have a bad game. They were one of the last two undefeated teams in D-1 basketball. They opened the season on a magical run that led to the first #1 ranking in school history. But they were beaten soundly tonight.
The turnovers should be the absolute focus of this game, but the Bears had another bad 3-point shooting night. Until Al Freeman nailed an open 3-point jumper down 26 with 2:30 remaining, Baylor did not make a 3-point shot in the second. For the third game in a row, Baylor made fewer than five 3-point shots. Baylor could overcome their poor 3-point shooting against Iowa State and Oklahoma State at home, but they will not be able to as the season gets tougher.
Baylor will need much better guard play going forward. They got that against Louisville, Xavier and Oregon. If they get it again, they can still contend for a Big 12 title. If they don’t, they can have a night like this.