WACO, Texas -- Well, perhaps that three-game West Virginia winning streak really was simply a product of the competition.
The case can certainly be made after what the Mountaineers did Wednesday night here at the Ferrell Center.
Starting poorly, finishing even worse and making headliners out of two Baylor bit players, West Virginia was simply crushed by the Bears, 80-60.
And afterward, no one was making excuses. Not that any were available if they wanted them.
"We just stopped competing,'' said freshman guard Eron Harris. "I don't know why, but we just stopped.''
As did West Virginia's short winning streak.
The loss snapped that three-game run of success for West Virginia (12-12, 5-6 Big 12), which still has not beaten a Big 12 team other than the bottom three in the standings of Texas, TCU and Texas Tech. But at least the Mountaineers have a chance to sweep those three when they face Texas Tech Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum.
Baylor (16-8, 7-4), which endured a three-game losing streak and seemed on the verge of a collapse a week ago, has now recovered to win two straight.
How did West Virginia manage such a collapse? Well, it happened on multiple fronts. For starters, they turned the ball over 18 times and were in foul trouble virtually from the outset. They wasted a big rebounding edge, 34-23, over one of the best rebounding teams in the Big 12 and they couldn't shoot from the outside.
"We threw the ball to them,'' coach Bob Huggins said of the turnovers, the number of which matched a season high in Big 12 games for WVU. "Then we started hanging our heads.''
But just as significantly, West Virginia made absolute stars out of two guys named Brady Heslip and Rico Gathers. Anyone who isn't familiar with them can be excused. They average a combined 14 points per game for Baylor.
Wednesday night against the Mountaineers? They combined for 42 points, making 14 of 18 shots between them.