Royce O'Neale led the Bears with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists along with Taurean Prince's 18 points and 3 steals to overcome West Virginia and the Big 12 Coach of the Year for a third time this season, each time by double figures.
In what turned out to be an immensely physical game, the referees were quick to blow the whistle. There were a total of 48 personal fouls and three technicals. Some of those fouls were on a short whistle, but many of them were legitimate. Both teams were aggressive in attacking the rim and passing the ball into the post, as well as battling on the boards for rebounds.
Baylor finished 26-34 from the free throw line.
Rico Gathers finished the game with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Most of his damage came in the 2nd half, including a huge slam in transition with 3:51 remaining in the game. Despite getting into foul trouble, Gathers contested inside shots well and was aggressive offensively, drawing fouls on WVU's big men.
While Gathers, O'Neale, Prince, and Johnathan Motley fought through foul trouble in the first half, Ish Wainright came through huge. In his brief 15 minutes of play, Wainright tied his season highs in points (7) and rebounds (6). His energy on the glass and on defense were key to Baylor's run at the end of the half. He finished 5-6 from the free throw line, contributing 3 points to Baylor's 8-2 run that gave them a 38-36 lead at halftime.
Lester Medford didn't record any assists, but he had one of his best games in a couple of weeks. He relentlessly attacked the rim, driving against a slower Daxter Miles and finishing at the rim.
Kenny Chery didn't have a great shooting day (1-7 for 5 points), but he pulled down 4 boards and racked up 7 assists. He controlled the game offensively and pestered West Virginia's guards on defense.
For the 'Eers, Devin Williams was a beast. He was 7-9 from the field, knocking down mid-range jumpers and attacking open space in the zone. When he wasn't scoring, he was facilitating from the post. He found the open shooters in the corners and moved the ball well against Baylor's defensive rotations.
Baylor will face off against Kansas tomorrow at 6pm CT in the semi-final match. Perry Ellis did not play in today's game against TCU and is questionable for tomorrow's game. If he's out, Baylor should have an advantage inside and will have a major defensive worry off their mind.