Carter, West Lead Way for ’Eers

MORGANTOWN — When your end game is making the 68-team field for the NCAA basketball tournament, you schedule games featuring programs looking to accomplish that same feat.

That was the case Tuesday night at the Coliseum when No. 18 West Virginia played host to No. 15 Virginia.

“I don’t really know,”î WVU coach Bob Huggins said on Monday. “If both teams continue to win, then I think it really helps. But, we won’t know that until the end of the season.”î

It was the Mountaineers however, that added that next line on its resume with a 68-61 win over the Cavaliers.

Virginia (8-1) came into the game looking for some revenge against a Mountaineer squad which broke its 24-game home winning streak a year ago.

But, it would be WVU (8-1) which received a game-high 23 points from senior Jevon Carter and 22 from sophomore Lamont West to keep its home winning streak intact for the season.

Carter, who became the school’s all-time career steals leader last week, finished three assists shy of a triple-double, as he hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

ìI think itís big,î Carter said. ìWe took a bad loss with Texas A&M so I remind the guys every night of how that loss hurt.î

A feeling echoed by West.

ìSure, it was big,î West said. ìCoach wants us to get these two this week. Now, that this one is over weíll get ready for Pitt.î

West Virginia resumes the basketball version of the ìBackyard Brawlî on Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

ìOur goal right now is to be 11-1 going into our Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State,î West said. ìThe key is to continue to grow and improve. The moment you think you know it all, someone comes out and reminds you that you donít.î

Senior Daxter Miles Jr. chipped in 12 points and two critical steals down the stretch to help the hosts maintain their lead.

ìThatís just Dax,î Carter said. ìI think we have the best backcourt in the country right now.î

Virginia, which plays host to Davidson on Dec. 16, received 19 points from Devon Hall and 18 from Kyle Guy, who was held scoreless in the first half.

ìIt (the Coliseum) is a really great college atmosphere,î Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. ìItís loud and the folks there know their basketball.î

Defense was the name of the game during the first 20 minutes as neither offense could connect on more than 38 percent of their shots.

WVU took a 29-26 lead to the locker rooms thanks to 10 points from West and eight from Miles. Hall led the Cavaliers with 11 points. The free throw line was huge for the visitors as they enjoyed a 12-3 margin and outscored WVUís bench by an 11-3 margin.

UVA took a short-lived, 45-44, advantage on a pair of free throws by Hall with 10:02 on the clock. But, a Carter jumper 26 seconds later pushed the Mountaineers in front for good.

Defensively, WVU held the Cavaliers to 41.3 percent shooting (19 of 46) and outrebounded their guests by five, 32-27. Only five players scored for the Mountaineers as Wesley Harris finished with five and James Bolden had six. Sagaba Konate added eight rebounds and two blocks.

Note: Wheeling Central graduate Chase Harler played eight minutes securing one rebound.