Carter free throws lift WVU over TCU in OT

In a situation where most teams would like a seasoned veteran to have the ball in his hands, West Virginia found itself relying on a freshman as Jevon Carter stepped to the free throw line with less than a second to play Saturday against TCU.

Carter calmly made both free throws, giving WVU a lead and the win – prevailing 86-85 against the Horned Frogs in overtime.

“I’ve been dreaming of this all my life,” Carter said. “As a little kid, I always had that thought in my head of wanting it to be a big game with no time on the clock and I have to make two free throws to win us the game. Every time I shoot free throws that’s how I take them.”

It was the last in a series of big shots down the stretch made by WVU’s freshmen, as Carter and guard Daxter Miles were there on multiple occasions to help the Mountaineers escape with the victory when the game was tight down the stretch.

In one of the most memorable finishes in a long time, Miles made two threes within the final 30 seconds of the extra period to give the Mountaineers a one-point lead but TCU kept punching back, taking the lead with 1.1 seconds left in the game with a Trey Zeigler bucket. After the make, Miles got the ball, found Carter near midcourt with no Horned Frogs between him and the basket and connected with his roommate by throwing a picture perfect baseball pass to him as he streaked toward the basket and missed a layup, but was fouled with 0.9 seconds to play.

"Our kids had a delayed reaction, and usually we have someone back there," said TCU head coach Trent Johnson. "West Virginia got (Carter) on the fly and, in a situation like that, you always need to have someone back there.

"This is one thing about athletics that I really struggle with. These losses are really hard."

The game was a back-and-forth contest the whole way, with both teams controlling momentum at different points along the way but neither able to take over for good. West Virginia led for the majority of the game, but its largest lead was a nine-point margin in the first half.

With victory in their grasp with less than 10 minutes to play after a three by Chase Connor, the Horned Frogs made their first counter - jumping out on an 10-0 run to erase WVU's 58-50 lead within a matter of three minutes. Over the course of that stretch, coming out of the under-eight media timeout, WVU had a horrific sequence in which it missed two free throws, gave up a shot from beyond the arc, missed three layups, gave up a layup on the other end and was charged with an offensive foul that gave TCU all the life it needed to make a run toward the end of regulation.

The lead switched hands a few more times in the final minutes before Miles hit a layup with two seconds to play that forced overtime and gave West Virginia the life it needed to get the victory in overtime.

"We weathered the storm and came together as a team. That's what we did, and we had fun doing it," said sophomore forward Devin Williams. "We have more experience under our belt, and we know what to expect.

"Last year we were in a lot of battles like this, close calls, and we never pulled it out. But now we have guys that are willing to take big shots and get that last stop. That's the fun part about it - knowing you have other guys on your side who are willing to go as hard as you."

Williams picked up his sixth double-double of the season after a slow start to the game. The sophomore big man had 18 points and 12 rebounds. After struggling in the Mountaineers' last two contests, senior point guard Juwan Staten got back on track with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists for WVU. Jonathan Holton and Miles were the other Mountaineers to reach double figures, scoring 15 and 10 points, respectively.

WVU will head to Manhattan next for a road showdown against Kansas State.

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