Daxter Miles poured in 22 points punctuated by a last-minute dunk and a flexing growl toward the crowd. Jevon Carter scored 15 points and showed why he has evolved into one of the Big 12’s most complete guards.
Plus a cast of other characters made timely contributions throughout as No. 11 West Virginia pulled away for an easier-than-expected 92-75 victory over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla.
Playing in front of the first sellout at Gallagher Iba Arena in two years, the Mountaineers (12-1,1-0) expected a down-to-the-wire conference opener but wound up building a 21-point lead in the second half.
Freshman Sagaba Konate had five dunks in scoring a career-high 12 points — crucial production with Elijah Macon sidelined — and West Virginia shot 55 percent while harassing the Cowboys (10-3, 0-1) into 19 turnovers.
The Mountaineers got nine points each from Nathan Adrian, Esa Ahmad, Brandon Watkins and freshman Lamont West, who went 3-of-3 from deep.
“We got contributions from a lot of guys,” said coach Bob Huggins. “Sags can score it around the goal. Lamont made shots when Oklahoma State went zone, and Brandon played 25 minutes. I don’t think Brandon’s ever played 25 minutes.”
Actually, Watkins had done it once — as a freshman against Marshall, for a West Virginia team whose season fizzled into an NIT first-round loss. This group holds much loftier goals and could make a top-10 appearance in the new rankings Monday.
Phil Forte scored 18 for Oklahoma State, including four 3-pointers in the final eight minutes, and Leyton Hammonds added a season-high 17. Point guard Juwan Evans, the Big 12’s leading scorer at 20.2 points per game, finished with 15 points and 11 assists but committed drive turnovers and shot 3-of-9 from the floor.
“There’s nothing pretty about playing West Virginia — they don’t allow you to run much,” said Cowboys coach Brad Underwood. “You’ve got to go make basketball plays because they don’t allow you to set something up.”
West Virginia, favored by only three points, pulled away despite a quiet game from top scorer Ahmad. The sophomore forward was limited by first-half foul trouble and didn’t score a bucket until 5:59 left in the game when his deflection led to a breakaway dunk.
Carter’s 13 first-half points included three free throws after he was fouled by Evans on a corner jumper. That put West Virginia up 19-7, a lead that expanded to 41-25 after Carter’s 3 and layup sparked a 12-2 run.
“It’s the Big 12, so every game you’re going to get hit in the mouth,” said OSU’s Hammonds. “This was a great learning experience for us.”
Carter finished with six assists and made four steals, while West Virginia backup guard Tarik Phillip contributed eight assists to make up for 1-for-6 shooting.
The Mountaineers committed only 12 turnovers against Oklahoma State, which came in forcing 20 per game.
“Our passing in transition has really improved, because we’re not throwing to away as much,” Huggins said. “Plus, whenever we made backcuts we scored, and that tends to alleviate the pressure.”