Daxter Miles scored 21 points and delivered a string of timely baskets late in the game as No. 10 West Virginia dispatched Fordham 86-69 on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.
Jevon Carter finished with 10 points and 12 assists, and Lamont West, returning from a sprained ankle, chipped in 15 points and a career-high nine for the Mountaineers (11-1), who will enter Big 12 play on an 11-game winning streak.
Yet even six players scoring in double figures didn’t make the performance satisfying.
“We played bad and scored 86,” said coach Bob Huggins. “That’s not a bad deal when you play really bad and score 86. And we played bad. Played bad, shot it bad, and passed it bad. Obviously, (Fordham) had something to do with it.”
Sagaba Konate also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, helping West Virginia to a 44-28 edge on the boards.
Beetle Bolden scored 11 and Wes Harris finished with 10 points able on 3-of-14 shooting.
Will Tavares scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half for Fordham (5-7), which also got 16 from Joseph Chartouny.
While the Mountaineers never trailed over the final 38 minutes, they endured some uncomfortable second-half stretches. Fordham, a 28-point underdog, drew within 46-41 on a layup by Tavares, who later converted a conventional three-point play to tighten the margin to 70-64 with 6:15 left.
That’s when WVU’s transition attack heated up, closing the game on a 16-5 run as the Rams missed 10 of their final 12 shots.
Carter and Chartouny entered Saturday tied for the NCAA lead in steals with 3.71 per game and both recorded three.
Carter picked up his third foul with 10:03 left and was charged with his fourth foul while defending the ensuing inbounds pass. That left Miles to run the offense, and the senior responded with 12 points and three assists the rest of the way.
“Thank God Dax shot it really well,” Huggins said. “Dax hit a huge 3 down there when they cut into the lead. He really played well. He’s grown up.”
Notes, numbers, etc.
West Virginia finished 10-of-30 from 3-point range, struggling to penalize the Rams’ zone. … Fordham made 7-of-23 from deep, shot 42 percent overall and committed 17 turnovers — only five in the second half — against “Press Virginia.” … The Rams’ bench outscored WVU’s 19-18. … The announced attendance of 11,296 was the second-largest crowd at the Coliseum this season. … The Mountaineers take a six-day break before opening conference play at Oklahoma State.