By JOHN LOWE , Associated Press
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Makai Mason scored 29 points and Baylor cruised to an 85-73 win over West Virginia on Monday night.
The Bears (12-6, 4-2 Big 12) survived a second-half comeback attempt to grab their fourth win in five games.
Baylor got out to as much as a 17-point lead in the first half behind big 3-point plays by Devonte Bandoo. The Bears extended their lead to 59-38 with just under 16 minutes left.
Then freshman Brandon Knapper started to turn the tide for the Mountaineers (9-10, 1-6), leading his team to a quick 13-2 run to cut the Baylor lead to 10 with just under 11 minutes to go.
After a back-and-forth battle between the two teams for the next few minutes, Mario Kegler hit a layup and a trio of free throws to put the Bears back up 13. West Virginia wouldn’t be able to close the gap.
Kegler scored 18 points and Bandoo added 13 points for the Bears. King McClure had eight rebounds.
James “Beetle” Bolden led the Mountaineers with 22 points. Brandon Knapper added a career-high 15 and Derek Culver had eight rebounds.
WVU center Sagaba Konate missed his 10th straight game with a knee injury.
Baylor: The Bears have won four of their last five games, including a near-win against then-No. 7 Kansas on Jan. 12. Despite being unable to put away West Virginia, Baylor seems to be heating up at the right time.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers exhibited their classic “Press Virginia” style of play, forcing — Baylor turnovers in the second half, prompting a serious comeback to keep them in the game. That kind of ferocious press is exactly what WVU will need in hopes to upset No. 1 Tennessee and No. 24 Iowa State.
Baylor returns home to host Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
West Virginia heads to Knoxville to take on top-ranked Tennessee in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. on Saturday.