Baylor is in a slide and dropped out of the national rankings, and now the Bears will be looking for a turnaround performance when they face West Virginia on Wednesday night in Big 12 play at Morgantown, W.Va.
Baylor (10-5, 0-3 Big 12) has lost its first three Big 12 games for the first time since losing six in a row during the 2006 season, a conference-only campaign for the Bears due to NCAA probation.
West Virginia (10-5) also is 0-3 in Big 12 play and is part of the three-way tie for last that includes Texas Tech.
The last two Baylor setbacks were home losses by a combined three points — 88-87 to No. 17 TCU on Jan. 4 and 97-95 in overtime to Kansas State on Saturday. The Bears blew a 17-point, first-half lead against TCU before being outplayed late by the Wildcats.
“We can’t drop games like that,” guard Keyonte George said after the loss to Kansas State. “We’re just going to focus on West Virginia and focus on each and every day.”
George scored 22 points against the Wildcats and leads the Bears with a 16.8 scoring average, just ahead of guard Adam Flagler (16.7).
Flagler had 23 points and seven assists and was not happy with the third consecutive defeat.
“Super tough,” Flagler said. “We pride ourselves on not getting into these positions. We saw growth from the last game, but we’ve got to continue that. We’ve got to turn the page and get ready for West Virginia.”
The Mountaineers opened Big 12 play with road losses at Kansas State and Oklahoma State before falling 76-62 at home to then-No. 3 Kansas on Saturday.
West Virginia shot just 35.1 percent from the field and trailed by as many as 22 points in the loss.
Forward Tre Mitchell scored 15 points to pace the Mountaineers. Guards Erik Stevenson (12 points on 4-of-19 shooting) and Joe Toussaint (eight points on 2 of 10) both had shooting issues.
“We just missed shots,” Toussaint said. “I’ve been in a lot of basketball games and it’s going to happen. I feel like if we stop the other team from scoring then it’s a game and we lacked that (Saturday).”
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins knows his team needs to get its act together.
“We’ve got Baylor coming in here next and we can beat Baylor and go on a run to get back into contention, but we’ve got to straighten a few guys out to be able to do that,” Huggins said.
The Bears have won six of the past seven meetings.
–Field Level Media