By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor is sliding after its fourth straight loss in Big 12 play after a 74-60 blowout at the hands of Texas on Saturday. With the loss, Baylor fell to 1-5 in Big 12 play. After winning 13 straight home games, the Bears have lost two straight. Baylor (13-6, 1-5) will look to turn things around against West Virginia (11-9, 3-4) tonight in Waco.
Baylor struggled with ball movement versus UT. The Bears finished the first half with only three total team assists.
“We’ve got to get the ball where our teammates like it and keep feeding off of each other and stick to what we do,” sophomore forward Taurean Prince said. “We’ve got to keep finding each other and try to get assists and put it in the right player’s hands.”
The Bears moved the ball better in the second half, finishing with eight assists for the half, but the defense disappeared.
“We can’t seem to put it together,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “When we have good defense, our offense goes into lulls. When we start hitting some shots, the defense goes out the window.”
The frontcourt of sophomore center Isaiah Austin, sophomore forward Rico Gathers and senior power forward Cory Jefferson combined for 22.7 percent shooting on 5-for-22 from the field.
The icing on the cake was a fast-break dunk opportunity by Jefferson that bounced right off the rim.
“That’s one of those things that kind of takes the air out of you,” senior guard Gary Franklin said. “Like man, nothing will go tonight. Cory is going to make more dunks than he’ll miss. It happens.”
Baylor will have an opportunity to get only its second Big 12 win against West Virginia. Sophomore guard Eron Harris leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 17.6 points per game on 45.9 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three-point line.
Guard Juwan Staten has turned his game up since Big 12 play started. The junior leads WVU with 19.1 points per game in Big 12 play.
“Staten is a guy who does a great job of getting two or three guys on him, “ Drew said. “If you bring that then he’s great at dishing out for assists. He has some experience being a transfer guy.”
The Mountaineers come into the Baylor game fresh after losing to No. 11 Oklahoma State 81-75 in Stillwater Saturday.
West Virginia shoots 42.8 percent from the field in conference and allows their opponents to shoot 48.3 percent and 40.6 percent from three.
“We haven’t defended well in conference and we haven’t shot well in conference, and that’s been a complete flip of what it was in nonconference,” Drew said. “You want to be in a great conference, because we have an opportunity to get some quality wins.”
Baylor will look to win its second conference game of the season at 6 p.m. Tuesday against WVU. The game will be televised on ESPN2.