|Points Per Game||75.8||80.4|
|Field Goal %||46.7||43.6|
|Rebounds Per Game||38.4||38.1|
|Assists Per Game||15.0||15.2|
|Blocks Per Game||4.3||5.2|
|Steals Per Game||5.5||8.1|
Tip-Off: 9:30-ish pm Est
Location: Kansas City, Missouri. Sprint Center
The 18th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (22-9 11-7) meet the Baylor Bears (18-13 8-10) in the quarterfinals of the Big XII Conference Tournament Thursday night in Kansas City.
West Virginia won both games in the regular season 57-54 and 71-60.
The game in Morgantown came down to the final shot, with senior Baylor guard Manu Lecomte missing a three as time ran out and the Mountaineers going on to win 57-54. In the meeting in Waco, the Mountaineers led by as much as 28, leading in double digits for 29 minutes of the game and holding off the Bears second half surge to win 71-60.
Baylor Starters and their averages against the Mountaineers:
Senior guard Manu Lecomte (5’11” 175-lbs) averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Played below his average in the final five games of the year only averaging 10 points per game compared to averaging 16 points in the other 13 games.
Senior Forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr (7’0” 225-lbs) went 10-22 (45.5%) and 1-1 from behind the arc, averaging 14.5 points. He grabbed 10 rebounds in both games. Had five blocks in the first matchup, but just two in the second meeting. West Virginia was the only team that gave up a double-double to Jo in both games.
Freshman Forward Mark Vital (6’5” 230-lbs) averaged 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. He scored in double figures four times in Big XII play and matched his season high of 12 points against Texas Tech and TCU.
Junior guard Jake Lindsey (6’5” 200-lbs) averaged 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. He had his best game in the win over Kansas with 11 points.
Freshman forward Tristan Clark (6’9” 240-lbs) was held scoreless in Waco but had six points and eight rebounds in Morgantown. Scored in double figures five times in conference play and the Bears lost four of those games.
Coming off the bench:
Junior guard King McClure (6’3” 215-lbs) averaged 7.0 points and 2.5 rebounds. Baylor is 1-3 when he scores in double figures.
Senior Forward Nuni Omot (6’9” 205-lbs) went 1-4 from the field and 1-3 from behind the arc in the first game but was more efficient in Waco, going 3-4 and 1-1.
Senior forward Terry Maston (6’8” 225-lbs) averaged 10.3 points per game in Big XII games but only averaged 5.0 points against the Mountaineers. The Bears are 3-1 when he scores 20 or more points.
In the first meeting, West Virginia’s 20 points off 21 Baylor turnovers was the difference and in the second game, the Mountaineers shot 53.8% in the first half while holding Baylor to just 19.2%.
Baylor outrebounded West Virginia an average of six rebounds per game and in the second game got 15 points off 17 offensive rebounds.
West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad did not play in the first game because he was still serving his suspension but in the second game he had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. He needs to continue to play like he did before the Texas game where he had back to back double-doubles.
Lamont West has struggled in the back half of conference play but scored 15 points in the season finale against Texas. West had 12 points and seven rebounds in the first game against Baylor.
Wesley Harris has also struggled as of late. He has 11 points and four rebounds in the last four games. His defense is starting to come back to form, but he needs to get back on the glass. Harris averaged 4.0 points and 1.5 rebounds against the Bears.
Beetle Bolden has been the offensive spark coming off the bench and can also change the momentum with his defense. Hopefully his rare 2-9 shooting from behind the arc against Texas was just a bad day and does not continue into the Big XII Tournament. Bolden averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists versus Baylor.
Sagaba Konate has nearly averaged a double-double against the Bears with 9.0 points and 11 rebounds. He has 16 blocks against Baylor this season and has continued to get stronger as the year goes along.
Daxter Miles Jr has averaged 11.5 points and 2.5 rebounds versus the Bears. The Mountaineers will need his defense to continue the Bears poor offensive performance.
Jevon Carter has been playing on another level to close out the season. He has continued to respond when opponents start to make a run to close the gap. Carter shot 50% from the field and three-point range for 15 points in the last game in Waco.
This is the spotlight Carter and Miles have been waiting for all season. I fully expect them to leave it all out on the floor and it starts with the first game against Baylor.