MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Rico Gathers had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and No. 19 Baylor used a strong start to beat No. 15 West Virginia 87-69 on Saturday.
The Bears (18-5, 6-4 Big 12) went ahead by 22 points midway through the first half and cruised from there, leading by as many as 26 points after halftime.
Only a late 9-0 run helped the Mountaineers avoid the worst home loss in Bob Huggins’ eight seasons as their coach.
It was Huggins’ worst two-game stretch. West Virginia was coming off a 19-point loss at Oklahoma on Tuesday.
In both games, West Virginia’s full-court press that had victimized so many other opponents backfired. Baylor was able to break free for open shots and made 55 percent of its field-goal attempts.
With five players in double figures, the Bears simply had too many ways to score. Baylor already had three players in double figures by halftime, when it led by 14 and matched a season-high with 46 points.
West Virginia couldn’t trim the deficit to single digits in the second half, and fans headed to the exits with 5 minutes left in the game.
Devin Williams, who had missed the previous game with flu-like symptoms, scored 20 points and Jevon Carter added 13 for West Virginia (18-5, 6-4).
Gathers earned his 12th double-double of the season. Baylor’s Royce O’Neale and Taurean Prince had 15 points apiece while Al Freeman and Kenny Chery added 11 points each.
Baylor answered West Virginia’s pressure from the start by throwing long passes for uncontested 3-pointers. The Bears made four of them during a 21-0 early run for a 23-3 lead.
West Virginia had trouble getting off shots close to the basket without being swatted away, and the Mountaineers made no mid- or long-range jumpers before Carter sank a 3-pointer with six minutes left until halftime.
Baylor: The Bears have won on all three trips to Morgantown since West Virginia joined the Big 12 two years ago.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have lost two straight for the first time this season. Leading scorer Juwan Staten was held to six points.
Baylor hosts Oklahoma State on Monday.
West Virginia hosts Kansas State on Wednesday.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.