WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

BLOG: Carter, Guards leading the way for WVU

It was well understood heading into the season that senior guard Jevon Carter was likely going to have to be the leader on and off the court for No. 18 West Virginia (8-1) this season.

On the court Carter has continued to be one of the toughest, grittiest defenders in the country, setting the school record for career steals last week. Not only has he been a stellar defender, but he’s also been the Mountaineers’ top scorer at just under 20 points per game.

Behind Carter, though, has been a duo of guards also averaging double-figures in scoring, Daxter Miles Jr. and James “Beetle” Bolden.

The backcourt tandem of Carter and Miles have put together a combined 10 games of at least 16 points highlighted by Miles’ 32-point performance against Morgan State.

Miles, who at times can be lights out from beyond the arc, has been doing much of his damage from two-point range, driving to the basket, getting putbacks to go down, and scoring on contested jumpers.

WVU head coach Bob Huggins has repeatedly said this year that the improvement in Miles’ game comes from constant work in the practice facility.

Carter has not only been scoring well, but he’s leading the team in assists (5.7) and steals (4.2) per game, and is third on the team in rebounds (5.3).

The senior guard is coming off a double-double performance Tuesday against No. 15 Virginia. So far, he has put together three games of at least 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

With the two senior guards leading the way, Bolden seems to have stepped into the role as the best scorer off the bench. It’s a role that’s been extremely important to Mountaineer teams’ success over the past few years, with the likes of Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip each making a major impact as reserves.

Bolden is averaging 11 points per game and has gone over that season average five times,  including 19 points in the season opener against Texas A&M.

This isn’t to say the big men haven’t been getting it done.

Sagaba Konate has improved his game, and Lamont West is WVU’s third-leading scorer. Sophomore forward Wesley Harris has also been a nice addition, as has freshman Teddy Allen.

But the guards have been leading the charge.

Backcourt players have accounted for 64 percent of double-figure scoring outputs this season, and Carter, Bolden, and Miles have also been getting it done on the defensive end, each averaging at least 1.3 steals per contest.