WACO, Texas (AP) — Brady Heslip scored 20 points with six 3-pointers while freshman Rico Gathers had a season-high 22 points and Baylor beat West Virginia 80-60 on Wednesday night, ending the Mountaineers' three-game winning streak.
Heslip had two 3-pointers in a half-minute stretch in the second half when the Bears (16-8, 7-4 Big 12) had a quick eight-point spurt aided by two West Virginia turnovers for a 46-34 lead. Pierre Jackson had a steal for a breakaway lay-up between Heslip's long-range shots, the second after a turnover.
Jackson finished with 15 points and nine assists for Baylor, which moved within a game of the Big 12 lead behind co-leaders Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State — the league's three Top 25 teams.
Eron Harris had 19 points to lead West Virginia (12-12, 5-6) while Deniz Kilicli had 13 points.
It was the best game for Heslip since he scored a career-high 29 points with eight 3-pointers in a win over St. John's on Nov. 18. He missed the following game after an emergency appendectomy.
Baylor never trailed after scoring the game's first seven points while West Virginia had three turnovers in the first 2 minutes — a preface of what was to come for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia had 18 turnovers, which led to 23 points for Baylor.
Heslip had a steal and an assist to Jackson for a lay-up before Walton had a steal which lead to Heslip's 3-pointer for a 7-0 lead.
West Virginia scored the next seven points and the game was tied five times over the next 6 minutes.. Jackson's 3-pointer with 7:25 left in the first half broke the 15-all tie and put the Bears ahead to stay.
West Virginia then got a layup from Kilichi before Baylor scored six in a row, four by Gathers.
With only a 1-point lead, Baylor called a timeout with 17 seconds left in the half. After the midcourt inbound pass, Jackson began to drive, then threw a bullet pass to Gary Franklin, who was standing in the left corner in front of the West Virginia bench. Franklin hit the 3-pointer for a 31-27 halftime lead.
Isaiah Austin, Baylor's 7-foot-1 freshman standout, opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but he had a season-low five points while plagued by foul trouble and played only 23 minutes.
With Cory Jefferson, another starting post player also in foul trouble, Gathers scored his 22 points in 22 minutes on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 8 of 10 free throws.