Without 2 senior guards, No. 20 West Virginia falls 78-66 at No. 19 Baylor



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WACO, Texas — No. 20 West Virginia was already without leading scorer Juwan Staten.

To make things even worse, team captain Gary Browne got hurt less than 3 minutes into Saturday's game at No. 19 Baylor.

Without those two senior guards, the Mountaineers trailed all the way in a 78-66 loss that ended their three-game winning streak.

"We had nine turnovers in the first half and most of them were live ball turnovers. That killed us. That killed us in the first half," coach Bob Huggins said. "You can't make live ball turnovers. We just had guys who hadn't been out there really by themselves. And it's hard to make any adjustments."

Taurean Prince scored 20 points and Rico Gathers had another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, which won its fourth straight game. The Bears led by as many as 19 points before halftime.

Freshman guard Jevon Carter had 25 points with seven 3-pointers to lead the Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6 Big 12), who had also won three in a row. Their winning streak included a home win over league-leading Kansas, where they play Tuesday night.

Daxter Miles Jr. had 11 points for WVU, and Jonathan Holton had 10 rebounds.

"We'll probably be pretty miserable tonight but after that they'll probably cheer up a little bit," Huggins said. "We're going to KC and we'll do some pool stuff with them and try to get legs back and start working on Kansas."

With two games left in the regular season, Baylor (22-7, 10-6) and West Virginia are tied with Iowa State for third place in the Big 12 behind Kansas and Oklahoma. The top four teams get a first-round bye in the conference tournament.

"I think we're just playing good basketball, making shots, making the extra pass," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Staten wasn't even in uniform. Huggins indicated to the team's radio crew before the game that Staten, who was fifth in the Big 12 with 14.5 points a game, had a combination of swelling in his left knee and a groin issue.

Staten left a win over Texas on Tuesday night for unknown reasons, but re-entered and finished.

When asked about the hurt guards after the game, Huggins said he considered Staten day to day but hadn't gotten a report on Browne from the team doctor.

Browne was hurt in a collision with 275-pound post player Gathers while going for a loose ball.

Gathers slid going for the ball and rolled onto the left leg of the 195-pound WVU guard. Browne immediately grabbed his leg and was helped off the court. He later returned to the bench with an ice bag wrapped around his left foot.

Royce O'Neale added 18 points and seven assists for Baylor, while freshman Al Freeman scored 10 points.

The Bears had only eight turnovers against WVU's full-court pressure, and had 18 assists on 24 made baskets.

"We have people who can handle the ball well and handle pressure," Prince said. "We have people who know what to do with the ball when they're being double-teamed."

TIP-INS:

West Virginia: The Mountaineers two largest halftime deficits were in games against Baylor, which led 45-29 at halftime Saturday. That equaled their halftime deficit Feb. 7 at home against Baylor, which had an early 23-3 lead in that game, led 46-30 at the break and won 87-69.

Baylor: Prince had double-figure scoring for the 13th consecutive game. That is a career-best streak for the junior forward who comes off the bench. ... The Bears have a 6-1 series lead against West Virginia. ... Gathers, a junior, has 22 career double-doubles.

OUTSTOLEN

West Virginia had seven steals. That was well below their NCAA-leading 11.4 per game, and three less than Baylor had.

BEATING THE RANKED

After a 79-70 win at No. 12 Iowa State on Wednesday night, the Bears now have consecutive wins over Top 25 teams for the first time in school history. Their six wins against ranked teams are also a team record for a single season, and includes another win over West Virginia three weeks ago.

UP NEXT:

West Virginia plays at No. 8 Kansas on Tuesday night.

Baylor is at Texas on Monday night.

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