West Virginia guard Jevon Carter may be in for one of his tallest tests of not only the season, but his entire storied career with the Mountaineers on Sunday.
The reigning back-to-back Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Carter led West Virginia past Murray State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. To reach the Sweet 16, he’ll have to do so once again, but this time around, against in-state foe Marshall and its sharpshooting junior guard, Jon Elmore.
Those who didn’t know Elmore’s name ahead of Marshall’s upset victory over Wichita State on Friday quite likely do now. Elmore led the Thundering Herd with 27 points, including four connections from the perimeter.
His heroic display was far from an aberration, though.
Thus far this season, Elmore has compiled a lofty collection of 20 20-point games, and four others in which he surpassed the 30-point mark, included a pair of 38-point explosions.
In short, he’s an elite offensive threat and a lethal marksman from the perimeter, as he’s hitting from three at a 36 percent clip with 95 connections this season. More notably, he’s the driving force behind a Marshall squad that’s now up to 25 wins this season.
If West Virginia isn’t going to be the victim of Marshall’s 26th win, it will largely be due to Carter’s defensive effort on Elmore.
As is, the Mountaineers often absolutely smother opponents defensively, but West Virginia’s defense will need to be at a premium on Sunday against an experienced, Elmore-led backcourt.
Much of that success, or potentially, the lack thereof, will fall upon Carter’s shoulders.
If the senior can keep Elmore from exploding on the offensive end, just as he has by averaging 26 points per game throughout the Herd’s last seven appearances, which includes five consecutive wins, West Virginia should be on to the Sweat 16.
If not, Carter’s collegiate career may come to an end on Sunday night, along with the Mountaineers’ season.
West Virginia and Marshall are set to square off at 9:40 p.m. ET on Sunday. The game will be televised on TBS.
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