CLEVELAND, Ohio — In explaining a historic beatdown, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins cited Kentucky’s watertight defense, steady shot-making and team chemistry.
He did not blame Daxter Miles’ mouth.
The charismatic freshman—who on Wednesday predicted the unbeaten Wildcats would soon slip to 36-1, who also questioned the effort level of the nation’s top-ranked team—followed up his prediction by failing to score during West Virginia’s 78-39 loss.
Miles’ comments scrolled across ESPN screens and even received a full-page treatment in the New York Post. They also sparked responses from several Wildcats after the lopsided outcome.
“Teams are better off catching us off guard, instead of talking (trash),” said Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein.
“I don’t think it’s smart to rattle the cage,” added Marcus Lee.
Then Devin Booker tweeted this:
36 and won
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) March 27, 2015
Huggins didn’t buy into the storyline of Miles provoking the Wildcats.
“You know what, honestly, I think that’s a bunch of BS,” he said. “I think once you throw the ball up, you play. It was a freshman that said it and I’m kind of happy he had some confidence. I’m kind of happy he wasn’t hiding under a chair somewhere, you know? There’s nothing wrong with having some confidence and wanting to go out and compete. They just were way better than we were.”
Miles was jeered by Kentucky fans during introductions and again after committing a foul. He finished 0-of-3 shooting to snap a seven-game string of double-digit scoring.
“They just played better than us today,” he repeated several times after the blowout.
Teammate Devin Williams appreciated the confidence Miles exhibited, while suggesting the first-year player likely absorbed a lesson.
“I think his words will be wiser, but Dax is going to be Dax. That’s the kid they recruited, and that’s the reason he’s here,” Williams said. “If he changes his personality or character, he wouldn’t be Dax.
“I can’t be mad at him or anything like that—you just learn from it. Last year in an exhibition game I had 15 and 15 and came out and said some things I shouldn’t have said. Then I came out (the next game) and stunk up the court. God, he makes you humble yourself. I think Dax is going to be more humble about his words.”