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.
When Keaton Miles announced he would be transferring from West Virginia, that opened up an available scholarship for the 2013-14 season. Miles’ transfer came as a surprise to some of the West Virginia faithful, especially since Bob Huggins’ 2011 recruiting class will nearly be non-existent on next year’s team:
Miles’ departure leaves even more questions unanswered regarding the future of WVU hoops, and puts Huggins further under the microscope for his already staggering transfer rate. Of the original 2011 recruiting class, only Gary Browne remains, and the depth for seasoned talent has dwindled.
Despite the high attrition rate, many believe that Huggins’ 2013 recruiting class may be his best yet in next season his seventh in Morgantown. The fact that West Virginia’s 2013 class features six players listed at 6-foot-7 or taller meant that Miles may have seen his minutes decrease as a junior.
With Miles’ departure, in comes 6-foot-2 guard Daxter Miles from Baltimore, MD. He announced yesterday afternoon via Twitter:
Words just can't explain this day….🙏🙏🎓🎓🎉 NEXT UP IS COLLEGE!!!! I WILL BE A MOUNTAINER NEXT… http://t.co/IZ7Cxu1m6L
With the Mountaineers lacking depth in their backcourt next season, Miles should be able to see minutes early. However, academics and test scores have been a concern for Miles, and his eligibility next season may hinge on his performance on standardized test scores later in June. According to Jon Martin of BlueGoldNews.com, Miles has been very appreciative of the West Virginia coaching staff sticking with him:
Spoke with new #WVU hoops commit Daxter Miles. He's excited to be a Mountaineer, mentioned how coaches stuck w/him during academic struggles