West Virginia has gotten key performances from newcomers over the past couple of weeks. Without the shooting of Lamont West and Beetle Bolden, or the rebounding and shot blocking of Sagaba Konate, the Mountaineers wouldn't be where they are in terms of Big 12 or NCAA seeding without them. Their record wouldn't be nearly as shiny. However, when it came down to crunch time in a late season road game, it was the veterans that came up big.
First, it was the ever-steady Jevon Carter – make that the nearly always great Carter. Playing 37 minutes, he didn't have his best shooting day, but still made a pair of threes on 6-16 overall shooting. He had five rebounds (tied for second on the day), and dealt out three assists. He was also his usual defensive pestilential self, grabbing three steals, adding several deflections, and directing action from the bottom of WVU's 1-3-1, which it deployed late in the game to great effect.
Next, it was Nathan Adrian – the target of derision for a segment of the WVU fan base for much of his career. Wonder if they still wish he'd transferred? Without his 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes, the Mountaineers would have been leaving Fort Worth with a loss. Instead, they kept their perfect record against the Horned Frogs intact, and his performance was a primary reason.
Also on the veteran roll call was Elijah Macon. Limited to just five first half minutes due to foul trouble, Macon showed great maturity in bouncing back in the second half. He finished with eight points and five rebounds, and all but one bucket of that productivity came in the final 20 minutes. He's deadly using the board on short range jumpers, and if he can avoid foul trouble, could be a hidden key in the postseason.
Even Teyvon Myers, who has seen his minutes slip over the course of the season, had some key contributions. He scored on back to back drives in the second half when WVU was struggling to throw the ball into the hoop from a foot away, and played 13 minutes without some of the out-of-control forays that have wound up limiting his playing time. He was 4-6 from the field and also had three steals.
While by no means have WVU's vets been playing poorly, they didn't get the support from the youngsters in this game that has been there in recent weeks – and yet, they still found a way to get a victory over a team that was desperate for win to help its NCAA profile. That the Mountaineers were able to turn that back, even when not playing well at all, could be an encouraging sign as they head to Baylor for their final Big 12 road game of the season.