LJ Cryer drilled eight 3-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points Monday night as No. 9 Baylor pulled away from West Virginia in the second half for a 79-67 Big 12 Conference win in Waco, Texas.
Cryer was 8 of 11 from behind the arc for the Bears (20-6, 9-4 Big 12), who as a team converted 14 of 27 3-point tries. Adam Flagler added 13 points while Jalen Bridges scored 12 and reserve Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua put up 11.
Freshman Keyonte George was held to six points, more than 10 below his average, but still helped Baylor with nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals, all team highs. The Bears collected 19 assists on 26 made buckets.
Baylor moved into a tie for first in the Big 12 with No. 6 Texas (20-6, 9-4) as the Longhorns fell at Texas Tech 74-67 on Monday.
Emmitt Matthews Jr. scored 17 points for the Mountaineers (15-11, 4-9), and Joe Toussaint added 11 off the bench. However, it wasn’t enough for West Virginia to avoid back-to-back losses in three days. The team was coming off a 94-60 blowout defeat at then-No. 5 Texas on Saturday.
The Mountaineers shot 45.3 percent from the field and earned a 29-25 advantage on the glass but couldn’t overcome Baylor’s superior shooting from the arc. The Bears outscored West Virginia 42-21 on 3-pointers.
Cryer hit five 3-pointers in the first 9:44 of the second half, lifting the Bears to a 62-45 lead that was too much for the Mountaineers to overcome.
Needing a win to bolster its chances of an NCAA Tournament at-large berth, West Virginia used its defense to control most of the first 10-plus minutes. Baylor managed only three points in the first six minutes and the Mountaineers led by as many as seven.
But the Bears eventually started finding the range. Beginning with Langston Love’s 3-pointer at the 12:11 mark, Baylor went on an 11-2 spurt, taking the lead on Jalen Bridges’ 3-pointer with 8:08 left.
Cryer canned a couple of 3-pointers in the final 4:03 and added a pair of foul shots, enabling the Bears to take a 36-29 advantage into the locker room. The difference in the half was 3-point shooting; Baylor made 6 of 11 and West Virginia connected on just 3 of 12.
–Field Level Media