MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Pardon Baylor star guard Pierre Jackson, but his coach thinks maybe he is too nice of a guy.
"Pierre is one of those players who gets his teammates involved first and usually picks up his offense," coach Scott Drew said. "Sometimes we'd prefer if he would score right from the beginning, but obviously his assists make our offense work. He missed a couple through passes, but at the end of the day he made enough of them."
The Big 12 Conference's leading scorer was one of three Bears who scored double figures Wednesday to help edge West Virginia 65-62 to snap a three-game losing string and keep hopes alive of an at-large NCAA tournament bid.
The Bears (17-11 overall, 8-7 Big 12) not only had lost three in a row, but six of their past eight. Coming in, they led West Virginia (13-15, 6-9) by just one game for sixth place in the league.
West Virginia has lost three in a row and is in danger of having the first losing season in the program since former coach John Beilein's first year here in 2002-03. That group finished 14-15. The Mountaineers have gone to five straight NCAA tournaments under coach Bob Huggins.
Baylor was led by Isaiah Austin's 21 points. Jackson added 15 and A.J. Walton finished with 10 before fouling out.
Freshman guard Eron Harris scored a career-high 25 points for the Mountaineers. Kevin Noreen finished with 10.
Noreen's 3-point shot brought the Mountaineers within 63-62 with 1:36 to go, but teammate Juwan Staten's 3-point try was blocked by Austin at the end.
"It's tough when it's a three-point game and you have to get a 3 and the defense knows what you are looking for," Drew said. "I thought we defended it well, and Isaiah (Austin) did a good job in contesting the shot, and it's tough shooting over the guy."
Jackson made two free throws with 17.9 seconds left to provide icing for the Bears. He also handed out five assists.
He finished 4 of 13 from the field, 1 of 5 from 3-point range, but Jackson was more active in the second half.
Jackson was 1 of 3 from the floor in the first half, his second straight slow start. In a 90-76 loss to Oklahoma last Saturday, he was just 1 of 8 from the floor in the first half, but he finished with 28 points for the game.
After scoring only five points before intermission, he had 10 in the second half.