Jevon Carter apologized to teammates for poor shooting and his sloppy night of ballhandling. Nonetheless, he exited Gallagher-Iba Arena in a positive mood once again.
No. 7 West Virginia won on Oklahoma State’s court for the fourth straight year, 85-79, rallying in the second half when freshman Teddy Allen scored 13 of his 15 points.
Extending this season’s winning streak to 12 games, the Mountaineers (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) enjoyed a successful league opener despite Carter committing a career-worst eight turnovers and shooting 2-of-10 from the floor.
“Nobody works harder and nobody cares more,” coach Bob Huggins said of his senior point guard. “He goes in the locker room and says, ‘Fellas, I’m sorry I sucked, but we won, so I’m happy. All I want to do is win.’ That’s rhetoric for some people, but he means it.”
Carter finished with 12 points, seven assists and five steals, and he made all six free throws as West Virginia sank 27-of-32 overall. Fellow senior Daxter Miles had 12 points and five assists, combining with Carter to close out their careers with a 4-0 record in Stillwater.
Sagaba Konate produced 13 points and nine rebounds, Lamont West scored 11 before fouling out, and Beetle Bolden added 10 off the bench.
“I’m just sitting here looking at the stats, and we’re all thinking that we played horrible offensively, but we scored over 80 again,” Huggins said. “Somehow we find ways to score.”
Huggins made sure to find Allen during the second half, running screens to feed the 6-foot-5 reserve guard in the low post. He made 6-of-7 shots before missing a dunk with 2:11 left and WVU up 76-71, a miss that earned him a chewing from Huggins even though the ball caromed back to Konate.
That became a familiar sight with the Mountaineers out-rebounding OSU 22-12 after halftime.
“Teddy made some good cuts and some good reads,” said Huggins, a week after joking that Allen “never met a shot he didn’t like.”
Jeffrey Carroll and Tavarius Shine each scored 17 for the Cowboys (10-3, 0-1), who shot 51 percent overall despite a late 7-minute stretch when they missed eight in a row. Their 21 turnovers led to 25 points for “Press Virginia.”
The nation’s third-ranked foul-shooting team, OSU slumped to 11-of-19 in the second half.
“I’m proud of our guys’ effort, but in this league, effort isn’t enough,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton. “You have to make winning plays. Credit to West Virginia — they made the plays to win the game throughout the second half, and we didn’t.”
Oklahoma State led 46-39 after its hottest-shooting first half of the season (64 percent), during which Shine scored 15.
When foul trouble and a slew of OSU layups forced West Virginia to back off its full-court pressure, the Cowboys turned stagnant.
“We didn’t stay aggressive,” Shine said. “If they back off, that means they are in retreat. We should have kept going. I didn’t play as aggressive as I did in the first half, and that was the big part.”
Under the category of “everybody is going to have a bad day once in a while,” Huggins said of Carter.
“Numbers wise, that’s probably as bad as he’s played in four years,” he said. “He’s never had eight turnovers before.
“But he does things like getting five steals for us or kind of igniting things in the second half with that steal. He rebounds the ball and goes and makes free throws at the end of the game, even though he didn’t play particularly well. That’s J.C. and that’s what he does.”
Carter averages a team-high 32 minutes per game and played 38 on Friday. On occasion he moves off the ball and cedes the point guard duties to Miles or Bolden, and more help may be forthcoming. Huggins said freshman Brandon Knapper, sidelined since suffering a preseason knee injury, practiced Thursday.
After scoring 14 fast-break points in the first half, Oklahoma State settled for five over the final 20 minutes and saw its halfcourt execution suffer.
“I probably did a poor job of getting our team in offense and giving them more structure,” Boynton said. “We were so focused on trying to eliminate their pressure that we kind of got stagnant when they went away from it and we weren’t as efficient as we’re capable of being.
“We shot a good percentage, but we didn’t get the looks that we should’ve gotten in there. That’s something I need to get better at.”
The Mountaineers stay on the road Monday to face Kansas State (11-2, 1-0), which opened Big 12 play by winning 91-75 at Iowa State on Friday night.
Dean Wade’s career-high 34 points were fueled by 6-of-8 shooting from 3.
Other Big 12 action
— Kansas began its quest for yet another Big 12 title by winning 92-86 at Texas, despite Mo Bamba’s huge night (22 points, 15 rebounds, eight blocks).
— Texas Tech dominated on the glass and crushed Baylor 77-53 in Lubbock.