Carter, WVU cruise past VMI

West Virginia used its relentless defensive effort and a breakout performance from freshman guard Jevon Carter to run away with a 103-72 victory against VMI Wednesday night at the Charleston Civic Center.

Carter poured in a total of 28 points, including scoring 20 in the first half and finished the game with a string of 10 consecutive made shots. The Mountaineers were able to begin pulling away about midway through the first half, after falling behind 19-18 to the Keydets.

WVU responded with a 22-8 run to set the wheels in motion to start the rout, thanks to the defense forcing eight turnovers in eight minutes to get the Mountaineers a 40-27 edge. From there, they’d never look back.

“I don't think it's that we come into games lackadaisical, but I just think we think so much in the beginning instead of just playing our game," said freshman guard Daxter Miles. "Then after halftime that's when you see it, you can see everyone come together

In the early part of the game, VMI was able to keep things close – jumping out to that lead by forcing some WVU mistakes and taking advantage of them on the other end as the Keydets, much like West Virginia, like to play a fast-paced game by pressuring the opponents early and often.

But eventually WVU was able to wear the Keydets down before running away with the game.

West Virginia forced 19 turnovers in the first half and finished the game with a school record 35 VMI turnovers. It was the same type of non-stop pressure the Mountaineers have been able to use all season to their advantage.

“(Coach Huggins) has made it a point to get through to us that we're going to guard again like he used to have teams guard," said senior point guard Juwan Staten. "We have everything that we need to be great defenders, it was just up to us to put it to work."

It was a balanced attack most of the night for the Mountaineers, who were able to score 52 points with its bench players and get 61 points in the paint.

WVU is 6-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season and just the third time it's won its first six games in 20 years.

Carter's 28 points led five Mountaineers in double figures Wednesday night. Staten stuffed the stat sheet, scoring 17 points and dishing out six assists while also picking up four steals in the game.

Junior forward Jonathan Holton had 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks while Miles and sophomore Tarik Phillip finished with 12 points each.

After the game, Huggins saw plenty of room for improvement on the glass. West Virginia was outrebounded by the Keydets 44-36.

"We get outrebounded by eight, that means we'll get outrebounded by 80 against Texas," said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. "We've got to get better. We rebound it fairly well offensively, but we don't defensively.

"We've talked to them about cutting down turnovers, and they've been good with that. We just haven't rebounded it yet at the defensive end. If you don't rebound it and they get it back, you don't have a stop."

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