WVU Seeking Rebound With Visit to Baylor

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has been doing what he’s doing for a long time.

What happened in Saturday night’s 77-69 loss at No 13 Kansas, however, was a first for the future Hall of Famer.

“We can’t win when they shoot 35 free throws and we shoot two,” Huggins said during his postgame radio show. “You can’t win. I’ve been in this game a long, long time and that can’t happen.

“You have no chance to win.”

The disparity made national headlines even Monday with ESPN’s ‘Golic and Wingo’ show touched on the topic with former Marquette coach Tom Crean.

“I lost it at the end of the game because I felt so bad for our kids,” Huggins said. “I can’t not say something.”

His words, however, fell on deaf ears and cost him a pair of technical fouls and a game ejection.

The game marked the 12th time in 14 Big 12 games where the Mountaineers’ opponents attempted more free throws, including all six conference losses.

“We made some mistakes,” the coach said. “Dax (Miles Jr.) should have shot the last one and he probably should have shot the one before that, but he’s playing like crazy — he’s trying.”

Now, the Mountaineers (19-8 overall, 8-6 Big 12) will look to avoid a two-game losing streak when it invades the Ferrell Center at 7 tonight against a Baylor squad that nearly pulled off an early season upset in Morgantown before falling, 57-54.

One of the two contests where the Mountaineers held an advantage at the charity stripe – WVU made 9 of 14 while Baylor was limited to 8 of1 1. Baylor handed WVU a 71-62 setback a year ago thanks to a 26-15 disparity in free throws made.

In the first meeting, sophomore Lamont West and Miles led a balanced scoring attack with 12 points apiece while four other players scored at least seven points each. Jevon Carter, Sagaba Konate and James ‘Beetle’ Bolden finished with eight while Moundsville native Chase Harler came off the bench to tally seven.

Baylor was paced by Manu Lecomte’s 13 points and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. chipped in with 11.

WVU will go with its normal starting lineup of seniors Carter and Miles at guard with junior Esa Ahmad and sophomores Wesley Harris and Konate at the forwards.

The Bears will counter with Lecomte and King McClure at the guards with Tristan Clark, Mark Vital and Lual-Acuil Jr. at the forwards.

Baylor (17-10, 7-7) trails WVU and Kansas State by one game for third place in the Big 12 and holds an 8-5 series advantage although the Mountaineers have won four of the last five, including a 69-58 win in Waco two years ago.

Senior Terry Maston led unranked Baylor to its biggest upset of the season Saturday when he tallied a game-high 24 points in a 59-57 victory over No. 7-ranked Texas Tech before a sellout crowd of 10,627 fans at the Ferrell Center.

It was his second consecutive double-digit game following a career-high 26-point outing against Texas.

That victory put added emphasis on tonight’s tipoff as WVU finds itself with an outside chance to end Kansas’ 13-year stranglehold on the conference’s regular season crown. A win over the Bears followed by home wins over Iowa State and the Red Raiders and a regular-season ending victory at Texas could be just enough to earn the Mountaineers at least a share of the title.

The game will be televised on ESPN2.