West Virginia overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Boston College, 70-66, to advance to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game against No. 17 UConn on Sunday. A team that needs to prove it is much more than its All-American caliber guard, Juwan Staten, did so in the late stages of the contest, holding on to the win despite Staten fouling out with more than three minutes remaining.
In his absence, freshman guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. stepped up in the final moments against one of the ACC’s best guards Oliver Hanlan. The first-year tandem combined for 25 points, seven boards, four assists, three steals and zero turnovers. They were also part of a full-court pressure that helped force 21 Boston College turnovers, including three costly ones down the stretch that helped keep Boston College from tying or reclaiming the lead.
The performance from Carter, Miles and fellow guard Gary Browne should inspire confidence heading into Sunday’s game with the Huskies. The Mountaineers were able to close out a game without their All American caliber guard to advance to the title game. UConn is coming off an 11-point semifinal win over Dayton thanks in large part to a better defensive effort in the second half and offensive production from senior Ryan Boatright and newcomers Rodney Purvis and Daniel Hamilton.
UConn and West Virginia play for the title on Sunday afternoon.