WACO, Texas — Turns out, West Virginia was worried about the wrong Baylor freshman.

With top-billed recruit Isaiah Austin struggling through a quiet night, Rico Gathers produced a career-best performance of 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench fueling Baylor’s 80-60 runaway victory.

“That’s one thing we’re pretty proficient at — helping people have career nights,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, whose team had won three consecutive games.

Brady Heslip, who sank five 3-pointers during last season’s matchup between these teams in Las Vegas, burned WVU again by making 6-of-9 from 3-point range on his way to 20 points. He scored 16 of those in the second half when Baylor outscored the Mountaineers 49-33 to pull away.

“I’ve been watching West Virginia since I was 13 or 14, so I know their style of basketball. It was easy to get prepared for them and get my mind right.” — Baylor freshman Rico Gathers

“If you leave Heslip open, he’s going to make shots,” said Huggins. “Everybody in America knows that … except the seven or eight guys I had guarding him.”

The loss dropped WVU to 5-9 away from Morgantown this season, including 0-7 against teams with winning records.

WVU’s Eron Harris made 6-of-9 shots to finish with 19 points — his eighth double-digit scoring output in nine games. But he freshman guard was disappointed by the way his team got flattened after trailing only 31-27 at the half.

“We just stopped competing,” said Harris. “If you guys saw our intensity drop, then it probably did. We just didn’t compete in the second half.”

Austin, the 7-foot-1 center and Big 12 double-doubles leader who’s projected as an NBA lottery pick, finished with a season-low five points on 2-of-8 shooting, one rebound and four fouls.

That left Gathers to be the main man inside. The freshman from LaPlace, La., had a dunk with 6:46 left that capped a 15-4 run for Baylor (16-8, 7-4) and extended the lead to 63-44. Gathers and several of his Baylor teammates woofed at players on the WVU bench as the margin ballooned.

“I’ve been watching West Virginia since I was 13 or 14, so I know their style of basketball,” said Gathers, who finished 7-of-8 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the foul line (where he had been shooting a paltry 44 percent). “It was easy to get prepared for them and get my mind right.”

Deniz Kilicli added 13 points and five rebounds for West Virginia (12-12, 5-6 Big 12), but he received a second-half technical for rolling the ball out of bounds after he was whistled for a rebounding foul.

Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson, the Big 12′s top scorer entering the night at 19.1 points per game, scored 15 but did his best work as a facilitator. He handed out nine assists, adding to his league-leading average of six per game.

The Mountaineers made 43 percent of their shots from the floor after shooting 51 percent during the previous three-game winning streak. Baylor shot 50 percent overall, including 59 percent after the half.

DREW’S TAKE

Baylor coach Scott Drew was surprised by how comfortably his team won considering the slow night endured by his starting big men.

“I think at the start of the game, if you would have said Cory (Jefferson) is going to have five (points) and five (rebounds), Isaiah’s going to have five-and-one and you’re going to be able to win 80-60, I think people would say, ‘Really?’”

SLOPPY TIMES

WVU outrebounded the Bears 34-23 but committed 18 turnovers to Baylor’s nine.

“We threw the ball to ‘em,” Huggins said.

Baylor scored 23 points off turnovers compared to 11 for West Virginia.

SHARE BEARS

Jackson wasn’t the only player making crisp passes for Baylor, which rang up 23 assists on its 27 field goals. A.J. Walton added five assists and backup shooting guard Gary Franklin added three.

“I think the guards really set the table — 23 assists, only 9 turnovers and 27 made field goals,” Drew said. “That’s pretty impressive stuff.”

RARE SIGHTINGS

Matt Humphrey checked in midway through the second half with WVU tailing 51-40. Humphrey had not played since WVU’s home win over TCU on Jan. 23, missing a span of five games. Humphrey played three minutes and saw his only shot, a contested 3-pointer, rim out.

Volodymyr Gerun also entered in the second half, only his sixth appearance of the season. The Ukrainian forward scored two points in five minutes.

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Comments

  • Larry

    Official Score:

    Big Tom..........10
    little shawn.......6
    Marveda..........1/2

    • Wemakerain

      I still don't see how you the team isn't improving. Kilicili hasn't improved from day 1, Rutledge has no IQ basketball or otherwise, and Noreen is over matched in any situation. However, 3 players does not make a team. If you can say Eron Harris and Terry Henderson look like they did in Gonzaga, you obviously spend less time watching basketball than you do flapping your gums. The dynasty that is North Carolina, gets all the top recruits, and has one of the greatest coaches of all time will probably miss the tournament this year. Chill out folks, the Big 12 is better and deeper than the Big East in all sports. It will take time to adjust.

  • big tom

    wow, you certainly put me in my place, i am totally ashamed of speaking the truth and expressing my rights of free speech, Shame on me, let's all move to Iran where freedom of speech doesn't exist.

  • Marveda

    I'm sorry, but who are you people. Are you forgetting that these are young men you're bashing so badly. Human beings with feelings. Other people's sons. Some of you claim to be fans in one breath and then you dog these hard working players the next. I know that these young men are doing all they can to make WVU PROUD. Shame on you all. Say something positive for a change.

  • big tom

    shawn , you continue to convince all posters on this site that your are just a punk , kid , who hasn't any idea what reality means.
    go back to bed with your sister and stay off this site until you can post something that resembles an intelligent, and from what i have read, that ain't gonna happen...LOL

    • Shawn

      I swear Tom I've heard that comment somewhere before....let me think about it. Oh wait that's the same grade school comment you make every post!

      Kudos to you for consistency! I guess your flowers haven't arrived yet huh? Still got the frown?

      Well i'll leave you to your thoughts and when it comes to you I need to start living by the following quote below.

      "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument and your ignorance cramps my conversation."

      • big tom

        poor shawn, you mama won't breast feed you anymore and your sister, has picked another brother over you to sleep with... now, crawl back into the slimy,cold ,wet basement you call home, and please quit proving to the world how stupid you are.

        • Shawn

          WOW...Point Proven! NEXT!

          • Shawn

            HAHA I just read that again and actually laughed out loud! And to think, i was the one labeled as a punk kid. IDIOT! HAHA

  • PGHMOUNTAINEER

    I think the fans are starting to vote with their feet. Don't be suprised if there are 5 to 6 thousand empty seats at the Coliseum this Saturday. I will continue to beat the same drum. When you pay these coaches millions of dollars (i.e football and basketball) and this is the product you get for that investment, someone is getting ripped off and someone is laughing all the way to the bank!
    Hard to believe, but I never thought I would see the day that we would be a bottom feeder in this weak basketball conference and a mediocre oponent in football.
    Heartbreaking as a fan.

    • big tom

      i totally agree, both coaches make in excess of 2 mil. and both got raises, huggie just got a lifetime contract, to coach as long as he wants... is oliver living in some fantasy world or what,,,,, another year like this in both sports, and someone needs to get pay reductions,,, i agree, vote by not attending games, that impresses oliver very quickly..

  • Shawn

    HAHA! We can always count on Big Tom to deliver some humor and the same old routine.

    As much as I admire your persistence, you fail to deliver valid points day in and out. Just the other day we went over the "leaving the program early" and I guess it didn't sink in with you.

    And for the positive attitude that I have....I just choose to wake up everyday and find the positives in things rather than being a negative person each day. Is this a stellar year? By no means is this the type of year i envisioned for WVU sports but it is what it is. I am able to look past this year and look forward to the next.

    Thats just who I am and you wont ever change that with your petty unintelligent comments!

  • big tom

    shawn is so stupid that he lives in this artifical world where all skies are blue and he loves the kool-aid, just keep bringing more.
    he still believes we're getting better each game and where a lock for the big dance. he thinks all of huggs's recruits love him though over 40 percent have left the program early.
    he's a pup, a kid, and mama lets him play with the computer and you get rosie shawn on here everyday showing the world ,what we already know, that he's stupid

  • Shawn

    Hey Tom thanks for your opinion. Sorry you're so bitter today but hopefully somebody will send you flowers for V-Day and it will turn that frown upside down!

    Obviously you dont like Huggs but I do and I'll admit he missed on a few of these recruits. He's got some big time kids coming in who will certainly fill some of the void and could potentially cause a shift in the rotation.

    Macon, Adrian, Watkins, and Williams all have that B-Ball IQ that Eron Harris and Henderson have so i think they will be fine.

    • Justin

      Shawn according to you is there anything that Huggins does wrong? I mean I'm a huge Huggins fan but come on.

      • Shawn

        Did I not say i was wrong and admitted that Huggs missed on a few recruits. Do I think he should yell every minute of every game? He's the coach, he can do what he wants. By him yelling it hasnt swayed me from watching or not watching the game. I watch every game to the bitter end and the only thing i'll question him on at times is pulling people out too early.

        • TBone Porterhouse

          A few??????????????????

  • big tom

    first of all,. shawn , you suck. you're one complete idiot, get off this site,and sleep with your sister.

    huggs is doing a terrible job , we are no better now than the beginning of the season. no he hasn't forgotten how to coach, but maybe his priorities are someplace else.. Is he there everyday for practice? who knows..
    it's time the players are allowed to speak their mind.
    this is the worst defensive team wvu has put on the hardwood in twenty years. And as i said, they are as bad now as when they played gonzaga..
    Murray , i made a mistake on him, he shouldn't start and just play sparingly and let's hope he transfers, ,Noreen, huggins has him so scared to shoot , it's pitiful..I like gary browne, harris , and henderson, the rest can transfer.

  • Shawn

    As much as I love the EERS, this has been a tough year for all involved (players, coaches and fans). It is apparent that this team is by far the least talented team we've had since Huggs has been there and with the four kids coming in next year I see a few current players exiting stage right. Huggs has only had 4 less than 20 win seasons in his entire career and this year wont sit well with him. I'm ready to get some more athletic kids who can run the floor and who have the basketball IQ that is needed at the college level.

  • Jack

    Most of the players cannot compete at the Division I level. Painful to watch. They pass on open shots, run down the shot clock and throw up a prayer. They leave opposing players wide open underneath the basket for uncontested dunks. All the big guys get in foul trouble as soon as they take the floor. Looking ahead to next year.

    • Larry

      Whats to look forward to?

      • wvtd

        another season like this one has been and expensive tickets to see the lames, i ment games. huggings is stuck in the 80s.

  • Justin

    Can we plz get some calls go our way, honestly our big guys can't do anything physical w/o a foul call. My biggest beef with Huggs as late is GET OFF the players back and get on the refs.

  • Shinnston Guy

    I am not a sore loser, we lost fair and square, but I will not support Baylor in the NCAAs or wherever after the poor sportsmanship displayed during this game. In fact, I turned it off I got so annoyed at them.

  • big tom

    take a look at this game, it's going to happen 7 more times this season. i thought we might win 2-3 more games this yr. No, don't think so, huggie recruited these kids, and he sure hasn't coached them up. this is the worst defensive team i've seen at wvu in many decades.
    whatever the problem, thank God we aren't playing in the BE this yr..we would surly be the laughing stock of the league.
    this is simply not a talented group, with terrible BB IQ's. they just act like a bunch of freshmen who haven't any idea what they are suppose to do....where do you point the finger,, coaching should have helped some this late in the season, but this game shows, we are as bad as when we played gonzaga at the very beginning .. i projected 13-18 , or 14-17,, we just might not win again. we should never have moved to the big12, and i bet they wish they would have picked louisville. sad.

  • pghmountaineer

    What's amazing to me is that Noreen rarely looks to shoot the ball. How in the world does he get a scholarship to a BCS school and never wants to put the ball in the basket. Who in the world is evaluating this talent at the high school level that would suggest these guys are D1 talent.

    • Charlie

      Totally agree. You could clearly see that his defender, along with Rutledge's defender, knew he wasn't going to shoot. Baylor's D played 5 on 3 all night.