The Dominion Post  

WVU’s defense shines in win over Sooners

Created on:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   11:33 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Jan 6, 2018   11:33 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN —In the final seconds, Jevon Carter smiled and Trae Young looked over to his bench and shrugged his shoulders.

In a match-up of big-time point guards, Carter and the sixth-ranked WVU Mountaineers came out on top with a workman-like effort on defense on Jan. 6 to knock off No. 7 Oklahoma, 89-76, in front of 15,106 fans inside the WVU Coliseum.

“Man, I don’t ever doubt what we do on defense,” WVU guard Daxter Miles Jr, said. “What we did tonight just shows how much effort we put into our defense.”

The Soooners (12-2, 2-1 Big 12) came in as the nation’s highest-scoring team, averaging nearly 96 points per game, but were held to 43 percent shooting and 20 points below their average.

It was billed as offense vs. defense, or, more to the point as Oklahoma phenom freshman Young against WVU’s defensive standout Carter.

Young has all the offensive credentials — he’s on pace to become the first player in NCAA history to lead the nation in both scoring and assists — and will likely be playing for an NBA team at this time next year.

“He’s a good player,” Carter said. “He got his. It’s a team game. We did the job and the better team won tonight.”

Carter, as WVU fans already know, is the most decorated defensive player in school history.

Three times he’s been named to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, and was named the conference’s and nation’s defensive Player of the Year last season.

It was everything it was supposed to be. Young did not back down and neither did Carter.

Boy, Carter really didn’t back down.

Early on, Carter stole the ball twice from Young and blocked his shot — and that was just in the first 10 minutes.

One steal came when Young tried to go behind his own back with the dribble, but Carter anticipated it and simply grabbed the ball once Young brought it to the other side of his body.

“I’ve never seen that before,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said.

Seconds later, Teddy Allen, who finished with 20 points, had a wide open lay-up after Carter made the pass.

Young, too, had several moments and his drives to the basket generally created a scoring opportunity for a teammate or drew a foul.

He finished with 29 points, five assists and eight hurtful turnovers, while Carter, who sat out nearly 10 minutes of the second half after picking up his fourth foul with 13:30 remaining, finished with 17 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

By the time it was all over, the game had moved on past a simple match-up of two great players and developed into a contest between two fantastic teams.

And it included a little bit of everything, including a young man in a WVU shirt proposing to his girlfriend in an Oklahoma shirt during the pregame.

She said, “Yes,” and then they got some pictures taken with the WVU Mountaineer mascot.

At another point, WVU head coach Bob Huggins pulled out a new trick — coaching his team from the opponent’s side of the court, which forced referee Kelly Self to do a double-take before getting Huggins to go back to WVU’s bench.

“I was at the wrong line,” Huggins said. “I really didn’t mean to. I usually don’t do that. I just started walking down there this year, because they let you, but normally I do a pretty good job of staying in the [coaches] box.”

With Carter on the bench in foul trouble, the Mountaineers (14-1, 3-0) took care of the rest.

WVU outscored the Sooners, 25-15, with Carter on the bench, with Allen and Sagaba Konate (16 points, 13 rebounds) doing most of the damage.

With 3:58 left, Konate stepped up and hit a step-in 18-footer that gave the Mountaineers a 76-65 lead with 3:58 remaining.

Carter came back in shortly thereafter and finished with a lay-up and two assists — one to Miles on a long baseball pass for a lay-up.

“They’re tough. They’re good,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Coach Huggins’ club is always going to battle and do things well. I thought they did that tonight.”