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Miles laughs off Wells’ whoofing, enjoys beating home-state Terps

West Virginia guard Daxter Miles Jr. (4) and Jevon Carter (2) enjoy their 69-59 win over Maryland.

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With TNT headed to an early commercial timeout, Maryland senior Dez Wells charged up to Daxter Miles. The only person moving faster was a Terps assistant coach who chased over and bear-hugged Wells back toward the team huddle.

Though lesser exchanges drew technicals during the regular season, Sunday night’s tournament officials let this one slide. Miles chalked it up to a failed intimidation tactic.

“He was saying I’m just a freshman,” Miles recounted. “But I’m a hard-nosed freshman, and I told him it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Indeed it wasn’t easy for Wells, an All-Big Ten performer who fouled out of the 69-59 loss and closed his career with an eight-turnover nightmare. Miles, the kid from Baltimore, actually outscored Wells 12 to nine.

“It felt good to beat the hometown school,” Miles said. “It felt real, real good.”

In the adjacent locker, Jonathan Holton chuckled over Wells’ trash-talking:

“He says he’s playing for the state of Maryland but he’s from Raleigh, and my man Dax is actually from the Baltimore area. He might as well been barking at a tree, because Huggs told Dax he couldn’t talk back.”

Staten gassed: As he logged 34 minutes, sometimes panting and doubling over, Juwan Staten’s conditioning clearly hadn’t recovered from his recent three-week layoff. His shooting was erratic (2-of-8 with an airball), his free throws suffered (2-of-5) and one of his three turnovers landed two rows beyond the WVU bench.

The star player’s subpar performance became a footnote, however, as the Mountaineers celebrated a 10-point victory.

“I didn’t play well at all,” said Staten, who handed out six assists. “I feel like this was my worst game all season, but my teammates carried me through.”

Carter contributing through slump: Though freshman Jevon Carter shot 1-of-7 from the floor, his 3-pointer with 4:13 left thwarted Maryland’s comeback after the margin shrank to five.

“It felt real good to make one,” said Carter, who wasn’t fixating on a 5-of-37 slump that spans the past five games. His six steals Sunday night matched a season high and were believed to equal the most by a Mountaineer in a postseason game.

“They say that shots are going to come and go, but you should always play defense,” Carter said. “The more shots I missed, the hungrier I was on defense to get it back. I don’t think I’ve played poorly, I just didn’t score. You should still be able to do everything else.”

Senior moment: Gary Browne set a career-high with five steals and scored 14 points, sinking back-to-back 3s during an 8-2 run to put WVU ahead early in the second half.

His first-half 3-pointer came with added flare, as Browne celebrated by plucking an imaginary arrow from a shoulder case and firing it.

“Everybody’s got a little something they do—that’s mine,” he said. “It’s Kat Everdeen from ‘Hunger Games.'”

Gary Browne does Kat Everdeen after a 3-pointer against Maryland.






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