Jevon Carter found himself in unfamiliar territory in the Big 12 Conference opener.
On the giving end of an apology.
Carter uncharacteristically struggled on the road against Oklahoma State hitting only two of his ten attempts from the floor, while turning the ball over eight times.
But more importantly is the fact that the Mountaineers got out of Stillwater with a victory and Carter played a key role down the stretch with his ability to do other things. But even with that said he offered an apology to his teammates for his play almost immediately after the contest ended.
“The first thing he says when he goes in the locker room is ‘I didn’t play well, I’m sorry but we won and I’m happy’,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “That’s rhetoric from some people but he means it.”
Carter hit perhaps one of the biggest shots of the game on a three-pointer with 3:42 left to push the lead out to seven points. That was after misfiring on eight of his first nine from the floor. He added a pair of free throws to help extend the lead on the next trip and also chipped in with seven assists and while steals in his 38-minutes of action as he finished with 12-points even with the struggles.
The steal that Carter had in the second half was something that Huggins believed ignited the team.
“He does things,” Huggins said.
While Carter was inconsistent, those around him elevated their game as five others finished in double figures and a sixth barely missed the mark by a single point. The Mountaineers all elevated their level of play to help combat the struggles of its leader, which is a sign of the team’s maturation.
The only other game this season where Carter struggled was in the season opener and the Mountaineers were on the business end of a 23-point loss to Texas A&M.
Forget going on the road and securing a win over a conference team that beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown a year ago.
That’s growth and the Mountaineers are hitting it at the right time.
This was a game that was never going to be easy considering how much Oklahoma State has improved and their style of basketball. Even more so because the Cowboys took the Mountaineers out of what they wanted to do.
“It’s hard to prepare,” Huggins said.
It won’t get any easier Monday as West Virginia heads to Kansas State, who just dispatched Iowa State on the road, but the Mountaineers hope there are some apologies on the way if it means that the program is on the other end of a hard-fought win.