Story by DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Sports Director
The Baylor men’s basketball team completed the season sweep of West Virginia with an 82-75 win over the Mountaineers Saturday afternoon at the Ferrell Center. The win marks Baylor’s third sweep of the year after completing season sweeps of Oklahoma and Iowa State.
It was a highly physical game for both teams as the Bears accumulated 23 fouls while West Virginia ended the night with 28.
Sophomore forward Mario Kegler hit nine of Baylor’s free throws and finished the game with a double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Junior guard Devonte Bandoo was right behind him with 22 points. Bandoo said it was difficult to keep the offense flowing given how many fouls there were.
“It’s tough, especially to get into a rhythm,” Bandoo said. “You always want to go off the momentum, so it’s tough, but we got great players.”
Senior guard Makai Mason, who reached 1,000 career points on Tuesday against Iowa State, scored only four points against West Virginia, all of them free throws in the first half.
Sophomore forward Mark Vital also had a double-double with 14 rebounds and 15 points. He opened the scoring for the Bears a minute into the game with a layup, but Mountaineers freshman forward Derek Culver followed up with a jumper and then took the lead on free throws. The game was tied nine times with the lead changing 12 times through out the night.
The Bears entered the half trailing West Virginia 40-37.
With 10 minutes left in the second half, the Mountaineers pushed their lead to 54-47 on a 3-point shot from freshman guard Jordan McCabe. But that’s when Baylor began to mount a comeback. Three-pointers by freshman guard Jared Butler, Bandoo and freshman forward Matthew Mayer gave the Bears a 58-57 lead, encouraged by the energy of the crowd.
The two teams traded baskets down the stretch of the second half, with the Mountaineers responding to a breakaway slam from Bandoo by knocking down four free throws, leaving the Bears trailing by one at 66-65 just as both teams took an under-five media timeout. Kegler then pushed Baylor to 71-70 lead with a three from the corner, prompting West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins to call a timeout with two minutes remaining.
Bandoo hit 1-of-2 technical free throws after the Mountaineers were charged with a technical foul for having six men on the court. Butler drove the lane for a layup and was then fouled to make the free throw, which the Bears up 75-70 with a little over a minute left in the game.
Kegler iced the game for Baylor, knocking down six free throws in the final minute after West Virginia intentionally fouled.
Bears head coach Scott Drew said it was what you can expect from playing in the Big 12.
“That’s a typical Big 12 game,” Drew said. “Comes down to the last five minutes, a few possessions here and there… [West Virginia] had a great game plan. They stepped up. They all made plays and made shots.”
Baylor will host the Texas Longhorns at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.