LAS VEGAS - The West Virginia Mountaineers won a game they should have lost, and lost a game they should have won at the Las Vegas Classic.
After rallying late in regulation and overtime in a win against Missouri State Thursday, the Mountaineers let one slip away late in regulation against unbeaten and No. 6-ranked Baylor in the championship game Friday night.
West Virginia fell 83-81 in overtime despite Kevin Jones' 28 points and 17 rebounds.
"Topsy-turvy. Each game's a learning experience," Jones said. "We gotta get better. The guards played well, but we've got to guard people for 40 minutes-plus."
Losing in overtime to the No. 6 team in the nation was no consolation to Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins, who picked up career coaching win No. 700 in Thursday's win over Missouri State.
"West Virginia isn't happy with moral victories, we're past that," Huggins said. "We had the ball to win the game. We didn't get a good shot."
In overtime, the Mountaineers had a chance to tie in the final seconds after trailing 83-78, but a Jabarie Hinds jumper in the lane fell short and right at the buzzer.
Hinds finished with 18 points and Darryl Bryant had 16 for West Virginia, which will start seeing Baylor on a regular basis in 2012-13 after the Mountaineers move to the Big 12 Conference.
The Mountaineers (9-3) had a chance to close it out in regulation after leading 76-73, but turned the ball over with 50 seconds left. That turned into a Pierre Jackson 3-pointer from the left arc for Baylor (12-0) with 19 seconds left to tie it at 76.
Jackson finished with 23 points while Brady Heslip had 19 on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range for Baylor. The Bears hit 12-of-25 from 3-point range.
West Virginia jumped to leads of 10-2 and later 24-13 against the mistake-prone Bears. But Baylor ended the first half by hitting six 3-pointers, three by Heslip, who had 13 points in the first half as the Bears led 40-33 at intermission.
Baylor extended its halftime lead to 52-42 with 16 minutes left. However, the Mountaineers would not go away and tied it at 69 on a Bryant 3-pointer 2 feet beyond the top of the arc with 4:28 left.
WVU took its first lead since the first half on three free throws from Bryant with 2:51 left, going up 74-71 after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt from the right corner.
Player FG FT R A P
Brady Heslip 7-10 0-0 0 1 19
Quincy Acy 5-10 5-5 8 0 15
Quincy Miller 3-6 0-1 2 1 7
A.J. Walton 1-4 5-6 4 4 7