No. 1 Bears too much for WVU Saturday in Waco

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WACO, Tx. (WVU Athletics) -- Jared Butler scored 21 points and No. 1 Baylor held 14th-ranked West Virginia without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes to begin the second half in downing the Mountaineers 70-59 Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Baylor ran its overall record to 23-1 by clamping down on a cold-shooting WVU team that came into today's game having missed 99 shots in its last two defeats to Oklahoma and Kansas.

Today, it was another tough afternoon offensively for the Mountaineers as they connected on 34.5 percent of their field goal attempts (19 of 55) while also committing a season-high 22 turnovers.

"They shot the ball extremely well and we didn't," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We can't continue to turn the ball over at the alarming rate that we turn the ball over and beat anybody good."

After using his regular starting five to begin this afternoon's contest, Huggins began the second half with freshman Miles McBride at point guard and eventually used junior Taz Sherman predominantly at the off-guard position.

Sherman responded with a season-high 20 points – all of it coming in the final 10 minutes of the game once the outcome had already been decided.

After freshman Oscar Tshiebwe scored WVU's first field goal of the second half with 10:14 remaining, Sherman hit consecutive 3s and later added three free throws when Matthew Mayer fouled him while he tried another triple.

Taz ShermanIn all, Sherman got five of his nine triples to fall through the cylinder while hitting six of 11 overall from the floor.

"We got it down to 11 at halftime and we have a chance and then we come out in the second half and turn it over the first three times we have the ball," Huggins said. "You can't do that and win against the No. 1-ranked team in the country."

Tshiebwe bounced back from a difficult first half to finish with 11 points and 12 rebounds for his team-best ninth double-double of the season.

Auburn transfer Davion Mitchell and Matthew Meyer contributed 13 points each for Baylor, which tied Kansas (1996-97) for the longest winning streak in Big 12 history at 22 games.

The Bears shot 51.8 percent from the floor, outscored the Mountaineers 42-14 in the paint and had 21 assists on their 29 made baskets.

"They pass the ball extremely well," Huggins said.

West Virginia (18-7, 6-6) scored 11 of the game's final 12 points. An announced crowd of 10,305 that was both energetic and vocal attended today's game.

"If there is a positive our guys continue to play and continue to fight it," Huggins said of his young team, which has now lost three straight for the first time this season. "We did some dumb things or else the game could have been closer and we could have gotten it a little bit more manageable."

Losses today by Texas Tech and Oklahoma keep the league standings the same as we head into next week. The Bears remain at the top of the Big 12 at 12-0 followed by Kansas at 11-1.

The Jayhawks defeated Oklahoma earlier today in Lawrence.

Texas Tech is third at 7-5, followed by West Virginia and Oklahoma at 6-6.

Oklahoma State had the upset of the day by knocking off the 24th-ranked Red Raiders in Stillwater 73-70. The Cowboys are playing much better basketball of late having won two straight after dropping a competitive game in Waco to these same Bears back on Feb. 8.

OSU is now 13-12 and comes to Morgantown on Tuesday night with some momentum in what is shaping up as a very important game for the Mountaineers.

"It's a really quick turn and they're coming off a big win today against Texas Tech at home and we need our fans not to give up on us," Huggins said. "We're not going to quit. We need the student body there in full force. We need people there filling the seats and we need the emotion and everything that comes with it.

Huggins continued.

"We are still very much a part of the national picture. Now, we have to do our part and take care of business," he said. "If we take care of our business the way we plan on taking care of our business we're still going to be in the top 10 in the NET. There are potentially (nine games including the Big 12 Tournament) left. The sky hasn't fallen."

Tuesday's Oklahoma State game will tip off at 7 p.m.