In one of the prettiest moves of the college basketball season, West Virginia guard Juwan Staten converted a coast-to-coast, spin-move lay-up with time running out to give the Mountaineers a 62-61 win over No. 8 Kansas in Morgantown on Monday.
“I got to give a lot of credit to Juwan Staten for taking that ball coast-to-coast and finishing with a lot of defenders around him,” West Virginia guard Jevon Carter said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench.
Staten finished with 20 points, including the lay-up with just under four seconds to go, and then prevented Perry Ellis from scoring the game-winning lay-up on the other end. Carter was there defensively to lend a helping hand as well.
“We were scrambling, trying to find a man,” Carter explained. “And Perry Ellis, he wound up sprinting out, getting down the court. Me and Juwan was next to him, (and he) missed a layup . . . and I got the rebound. We chased him down, heat of the moment. The ball just wound up coming out.”
The one-point win over Kansas atoned for a poor West Virginia showing on Valentine’s Day. The No. 23 Mountaineers (20-6, 8-5) lost at No. 12 Iowa State, 79-59. The 20-point loss was their most lopsided of the season.
Nevertheless, they returned to Morgantown and got a huge win over a top-10 team.
“We prepare real hard,” Carter said. “We knew if we wanted to stay (near) the top in this conference, we knew we had to get this win tonight. We knew we couldn’t go back-to-back losses. We really prepared, dug in, came together as a team and fought to win this game.”
But how is it possible to look so bad one day and look so good two days later? The Mountaineers shot just 37.5 percent from the floor against Kansas, but they forced 14 turnovers, including eight steals, and won the rebounding battle, 37-32.
“He really got into us after that (Iowa State) game,” Carter said of head coach Bob Huggins. “He’s tired of losing like this and so are we. So we knew we just had to come together as a team and stop playing individually. If we want to be good, it can’t be just one of us. We all got to do it together.”
Carter, a freshman from Maywood, Illinois, is certainly doing his part. He is third on the team in scoring with 8.3 points per game and is shooting a team-high 81.6 percent from the free-throw line.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Carter said.
West Virginia plays another ranked team – No. 22 Oklahoma State (17-8, 7-6) – on the road this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. It is the Mountaineers’ fifth ranked opponent in their last six games.
“I knew every game, every night was going to be a hard, tough-fought battle,” Carter said. “It’s just basketball. You got to keep winning.”