Jevon Carter should remain WVU point guard

Jevon Carter sat out for the final 13 minutes of Tuesday’s game against Virginia at Madison Square Garden. He was pulled by head coach Bob Huggins after his behind-the-back pass went awry.

West Virginia was still clinging to a small lead when Carter had a lane to the basket. If he takes it up strong, it’s an easy two points and the Mountaineers extend their lead to three points. Instead, Carter attempt to pass the ball back to a teammate.

London Perrantes was there to get a hand on it.

Perrantes tipped the ball to his Virginia teammate, Malcolm Brogdon, who dribbled up court. There, he found a breaking Perrantes who was open on the right wing. Perrantes then buried a 3-pointer to give the Cavaliers a 42-20 and they wouldn’t relinquish the advantage.

Virginia handed the Mountaineers their first loss of the season, 70-54.

Carter was handed a spot on the bench for his mistake.

“I thought that was a back breaker,” Huggins said of Carter’s bad pass. “That was a play that really got the game going in the wrong direction.”

It was a taste of tough medicine as Carter could have helped keep the game close enough for WVU to maybe pull out a win. But, as Huggins said, the turnover coupled with the 3-pointer was exactly what Virginia needed to maintain momentum for the final stretch of the second half.

But Carter deserved to play.

West Virginia is a deep team, as guards Jaysean Paige and Tarik Philip came off the bench in place of Carter and to spell Daxter Miles, Jr. Paige actually led the Mountaineers in scoring with 16 points in 18 minutes of play. Miles, Jr. played 31 minutes, the most of any WVU player.

Jan 24, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Jevon Carter (2) shoots during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at WVU Coliseum. West Virginia Mountaineers defeated TCU Horned Frogs 86-85 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Huggins obviously meant to send a message to Carter. It’s one he received loud and clear. Responding to that message will be key and he gets that chance on Sunday against Louisiana-Monroe. He could have had an earlier chance to answer, but Huggins did not afford him that opportunity.

Huggins basically conceded a loss to Virginia by keeping Carter on the bench. Had this game been a Big 12 match up or NCAA Tournament game, Carter likely goes back in.

Carter wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire in the first half, though. He was just 1 of 9 shooting from the floor and 0 for 2 from behind-the-arc. The bad pass was his only turnover and he created two steals. Carter even led the team with five rebounds, as the Mountaineers were out-rebounded, 24-26. Virginia had seven second-chance baskets in the second half, alone. Having Carter out there could’ve curtailed that.

If Huggins is evaluating his point guard play, he better keep Carter at the forefront of those plans. Last season, Carter played sparingly at point guard as Gary Browne and Juwan Staten were both injured toward the end of the regular season.

A freshman, he showed poise in a big-game situation, driving the court and knocking down an eventual game-winning free throw against TCU.

He’ll have another chance to make magic happen for the Mountaineers. It could have happened in the second half against Virginia.