Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
No. 1 Baylor Blown Out by No. 10 West Virginia for 1st Loss of Season
By MIKE McCURRY
On Monday, with the unveiling of the new Associated Press poll, the Baylor Bears found themselves ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history.
Their reward? A road game Tuesday against No. 10 West Virginia and its swarming, 94-foot pressure defense.
West Virginia forced 29 Baylor turnovers, leading to a 29-6 advantage in points off turnovers, as it comfortably handed the Bears their first loss of the season, 89-68.
With Baylor (15-1) losing, Gonzaga (15-0) is the nation’s last undefeated team.
Senior Nathan Adrian dropped a career-high 22 points for West Virginia. Not only has Adrian seamlessly transitioned to being the point man of Bob Huggins’ press, but he has also improved leaps and bounds offensively. With his outburst on Tuesday, the 6-9 forward’s point total this season eclipsed last year’s.
Jevon Carter chipped in with 17 points and 7 assists for WVU. The 6-2 junior also had five steals, marking the fourth time already this season that he’s collected five or more thefts.
Due to a suffocating defensive scheme and one of the nation’s Top-5 offenses (at least according to KenPom), West Virginia projects as the main roadblock to what would be a 13th consecutive regular season Big-12 title for Kansas.
The Mountaineers will host the Jayhawks exactly two weeks from Tuesday, on January 24.
From a Baylor perspective, a loss was expected in Morgantown—at least a little more so than the ensuing court storm after the final buzzer, that is.
Seven Bears were charged with at least three giveaways—Ish Wainright had the most with 6—as turnovers occurred on 37 percent of their offensive possessions. It’s difficult to beat any opponent when doing that, particularly one of West Virginia’s caliber.
The Bears have no choice but to regroup quickly, as any hangover from Tuesday’s setback could result in a second straight loss this weekend when Baylor visits a very solid Kansas State squad.
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