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Baylor tops West Virginia in Big 12 tourney

Mar 12, 2015 - 9:31 PM Kansas City, MO ( - Taurean Prince provided a spark off the bench with 18 points, helping No. 16 Baylor beat No. 18 West Virginia 80-70 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament at Sprint Center.

Royce O'Neale finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for the fourth-seeded Bears (24-8), will play ninth-ranked Kansas in the semifinals on Friday.

Rico Gathers had 15 points and nine rebounds as Baylor continued its domination of West Virginia. The Bears improved to 7-1 in the series.

West Virginia (23-9) played its fourth straight game without leading scorer Juwan Staten (knee), but Jaysean Paige helped pick up the slack with a season- high 18 points.

"Builds a lot of confidence coming in, hitting a few shots and things I work on every day," Paige said about his performance. "But the win is the most important and we didn't come up with a win."

Devin Williams also scored 18 points for the fifth-seeded Mountaineers, who have yet to win a tournament game since joining the league in 2012.

A Prince layup put Baylor up 55-49 with 13:22 left, but West Virginia responded with an 11-2 run. Williams capped it with a layup for a 60-57 Mountaineers lead with 9:13 remaining.

The Bears moved ahead 64-62 when Prince hit a 3-pointer with about seven minutes to go, and they later capitalized on consecutive West Virginia turnovers to stretch their lead to five. Gathers then made two free throws to give Baylor a 73-66 lead with 2:22 remaining.

"We knew coming in that any game you play was going to be a war and playing on one or two possession games and you've got to operate late and I thought our guys did a great job operating down the stretch," said Baylor coach Scott Drew.

Baylor used a 13-5 run to close the first half and grab a 38-36 lead. Each team shot 48 percent from the floor, but West Virginia made six 3-pointers compared to only one for Baylor.

Game Notes

Baylor lost in two of the previous three Big 12 championship games ... The Bears extended a school record with a seventh win against a ranked opponent this season ... Gathers has 371 rebounds this season, four shy of tying Charles McKinney's school record set in 1973-74 ... West Virginia's Gary Browne missed a third straight game with an ankle sprain.