Jevon Carter's performance in West Virginia's 83-71 win over Notre Dame will be remembered for a long time in both Morgantown and South Bend. Carter, who seemed to be one step ahead of Notre Dame defenders for the better part of the day, scored 24 points as he repeatedly slashed to the basket and hit a number of step back jumpers. But it's what he did on the defensive end of the court that enabled the Mountaineers to cruise to a 12 point victory over the Fighting Irish on Saturday afternoon.
After going head to head with guards such as Jawun Evans, Monte Morris and Frank Mason for the better part of the last three months, the junior point guard was tasked with slowing down Notre Dame's Matt Farrell on Saturday afternoon, and that's exactly what he did. Although Farrell lacks the athleticism of some of the other guards Carter has squared off with, he is one of the most heady players in the country and led a Fighting Irish offense that committed turnovers on just 13.9 percent of its possessions, good for the lowest percentage in the nation.
Farrell had also scored in double figures in 14 straight games entering Saturday's contest, but Carter put an abrupt end to that streak as he played defense like a school yard bully for the better part of the afternoon. At the end of the day Farrell scored just eight points and committed four turnovers in his 36 minutes of court time.
"He wanted to be comfortable," said Carter. "Notre Dame is just about being comfortable. He wanted to get the ball into his right hand and make plays off of ball screens but it was my job to just speed him up and make him uncomfortable."
It's safe to say that the Mountaineers were successful in bothering Farrell and his teammates, as they routinely harassed the Irish and rarely allowed them to get in any kind of rhythm offensively. Notre Dame was averaging slightly under 10 turnovers per game (ranking second in the country) but today it had already committed 10 of its 14 turnovers by halftime, something Carter credited to his teammates' tenacity for the better part of the afternoon.
"It wasn't just me," said Carter. "I don't guard (Farrell) for 40 minutes. It was Tarik Phillip, Daxter Miles and even Nathan Adrian. We all took turns in guarding him."
Carter's teammates took notice of his defensive effort and ability to consistently frustrate the Fighting Irish's guards and praised him for his play in the contest.
"(Carter) did a really good job today," said junior forward Elijah Macon. "(Carter and Farrell) played together in the summer so they were kind of familiar with each other already but I feel like he handled his business tonight and did what he needed to do."
The Mountaineers' will have few days to prepare as they get ready to take on the winner of Gonzaga and Northwestern in the Sweet 16, but don't expect to see West Virginia play with any less of an edge going forward.
"We keep that chip on our shoulder," said Carter. "A wise man once said, remember where you come from, and we always keep that in the back of our mind. All three of us up here, it wasn't an easy path to get here to West Virginia. We had to grind it out every step of the way, and when we get on the court, that gives us a chance to show it prove that other schools missed out on us."
It's safe to say there are some coaches around the country who now wish they had a Jevon Carter on their roster.