KANSAS CITY, Mo.–Esa Ahmad scored a season-high 21 points and No. 3-seeded West Virginia knocked off No. 6 Baylor, 78-65, on Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
Daxter Miles Jr. chipped in 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Jevon Carter had 18 points, 11 assists and six steals.
Manu Lecomte tallied 27 points for the Bears (18-14, 8-10 Big 12). Terry Maston added 11 points.
The Mountaineers (23-9, 11-7) came out looking sluggish and fell behind 18-9 when Nuni Omot sank a 3 with 8:46 remaining in the first half.
However, WVU found its rhythm and took control, forcing turnovers and sending Baylor into a frenzy.
Tristan Clark’s dunk with three seconds left shifted the momentum the Bears’ way.
However, Carter drained a shot from the Big 12 half-court at the end of the half to give the Mountaineers a 29-23 lead. From that moment WVU never looked back.
“It gives us a little bit of momentum,” Carter said. “They had a put-back dunk. A dunk can change the game. I guess that 3-pointer just killed them right there with it. That’s a big momentum changer.”
Miles drained three straight 3s in one minute, capping an 11-0 run and giving the Mountaineers a 40-27 lead with 16:33 remaining.
“My teammates was finding me and I was just trying to find the gap,” Miles said about his hot 3-point shooting.
WVU forced 22 turnovers and had 12 steals.
A point of emphasis leading into the game was rebounding but the Mountaineers finished the night with a 37-31 edge on the boards.
Carter moved into second all-time for steals (95) on WVU’s single-season list.
The Mountaineers shot 43.6 percent from the floor, 38.1 percent from beyond the arc and 75.9 percent from the free throw line.
Baylor shot 42 percent from the field, 30 percent from long range and 73.9 percent from the charity stripe.
WVU takes on No. 2 Texas Tech on Friday in the semifinals. This will be the Mountaineers third straight appearance in the semifinals.
Cover Photo Credit: Ashley O’Brien, BGS