No. 21 WVU Seeking a Little Payback
By JIM BUTTA
For The Intelligencer
MORGANTOWN — West Virginia senior Jevon Carter is about to join an exclusive group. So exclusive that the Mountaineers’ point guard will be its only member.
No player competing at this level of college basketball has ever scored more than 1,500 points, grabbed 500 rebounds, handed out 500 assists and made 300 steals during their career.
‘JC’ is one assist shy of accomplishing that feat following WVU’s 71-60 win at Baylor on Tuesday night.
Heading into his next-to-last home game at the Coliseum, Carter has amassed 1,588 points, 503 rebounds, 303 steals and 499 assists during his playing days with the Old Gold and Blue.
“I think work ethic pretty covers everything,” Huggins said. “He’s always asking how he can get better.”
Oregon State’s Gary Payton came close — 2,172 points, 938 assists, 321 steals, but only 480 rebounds — as did Syracuse guard Jason Hart (1,503 points, 709 assists, 329 steals, 433 rebounds).
Not even, arguably, the greatest player to wear the Old Gold and Blue — Jerry West, who finished his days in Morgantown with 2,309 points, 1,240 rebounds and 261 assists — can add that to his list of accomplishments.
A sellout crowd is expected to be on hand for today’s 6 p.m. tipoff against a Cyclones team that pounded a then-No. 15 ranked WVU, 93-77, back on Jan. 31, 2018, at the Hilton Coliseum.
Carter poured in a team-high 18 points, dished out nine assists, hauled down seven rebounds and came away with one steal in that contest.
ISU’s 93 points were the most surrendered by a Bob Huggins- coached team at WVU while the Cyclones’ 53 first-half points were the most scored in the first half against the Mountaineers since Pepperdine scored 53 in a 2001 matchup in the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Ariz.
West Virginia’s vaunted full-court pressure defense was no-existent and at one point in the second half Huggins had to call it off entirely because the Cyclones’ were beating the Mountaineers down the floor time after time for easy buckets.
“These guys have singlehandedly destroyed ‘Press Virginia’,” a frustrated Huggins said following the loss. “We can’t press anybody.”
Senior Daxter Miles Jr. missed the game entirely, suffering from flu-like symptoms causing Chase Harler to get the starting nod. The former Wheeling Central Catholic standout played 15 minutes, scoring three points, dishing out one assist and being whistled for one foul.
“They (ISU) really shot the ball well and we got dominated inside,” Huggins lamented.
‘Press Virginia’ made a short-lived return against the Bears as WVU’s full-court pressure forced Baylor into numerous miscues during the game’s first 20 minutes and helping the Mountaineers forge a 40-18 lead at the intermission.
That advantaged bulged to 28 points in the second half before Baylor made a late run to cut the deficit to 11, 71-60, at the final buzzer.
No. 21 WVU (20-8, 9-6 Big 12) will need to sustain that intensity against an ISU squad (13-14, 4-11 Big 12) that is looking to build its resume as the Big 12 tournament looms in the very near future.
A tournament seeding that is still ‘in-the-making’ after Wednesday night’s Oklahoma State victory over a No 6 Texas Tech team.
WVU could still earn a share of its first Big 12 regular season crown if it wins out — which would include a victory over Texas Tech on Senior Night on Monday. Of course, Kansas, which is looking for its 14th consecutive league crown would have to drop two of its final three regular season games beginning with the Red Raiders tonight.
NOTE: Four members of the WVU men’s basketball team have been named to the 2018 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Team.
Jevon Carter and Moundsville native Chase Harler were named to the First Team while James ‘Beetle’ Bolden and Cameron native Logan Routt were selected to the Second Team.
No. 16 OHIO STATE 80
INDIANA 78, 2OT
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Keita Bates-Diop finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds and C.J. Jackson made a long 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left in double overtime to give No. 16 Ohio State a victory at Indiana on Friday night.
With the win, the Buckeyes (24-7, 15-3) can claim a share of the conference crown in coach Chris Holtmann’s first season — if No. 2 Michigan State loses at Wisconsin on Sunday.
Juwan Morgan scored 18 points and Robert Johnson added 17 to lead the Hoosiers (16-14, 9-9). But Johnson, playing what could be his final home game, couldn’t make the dramatic half-court heave at the buzzer to win a wild game that was tighter than expected.
No. 18 RHODE ISLAND 81
KINGSTON, Rhode Island (AP) — Jeff Dowtin scored 20 points, E.C. Matthews added 18 and Rhode Island wrapped up its first outright Atlantic-10 regular-season title with a victory over Dayton.
Jared Terrell had 17 points to help the Rams (22-5, 15-1) win.