MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Keaton Miles was no different than many freshmen when he arrived at West Virginia University last summer. He had his mind set on stats, though one spoke to him louder than all others.
"All I was thinking about was trying to get wins," he said.
When the team went overseas and played summer games in Italy, Miles thought he had found the way.
"What I saw there, and what I had even thought before, was they had trouble scoring last year and I thought I was going to contribute like that," he said. "As far as right now, my offensive game hasn't been what I thought it was going to be."
That's one way to put it. Here's another: Miles is being celebrated for a career-high point total Saturday against Rutgers - six points.
Yet it was, without question, his best game for the Mountaineers (13-5), who play Marshall (13-4) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Capital Classic at the Charleston Civic Center. He was 3-for-4 after going 2-for-6 in the first five Big East games.
"He shoots it fine in practice," Coach Bob Huggins said. "He honestly does."
Miles just hadn't shot well, or often, in games. He was 8-for-30 in the first 17 games and 0-for-6 from 3-point range. He missed many shots badly and sometimes missed the rim.
Worse yet, Huggins believed Miles was taking shots early in possessions when they knew the defense would allow those same openings later in the shot clock.
So over time, the 6-foot-6 Miles stopped shooting. He took one shot in his first Big East game against Villanova. He took none Jan. 4 against Rutgers and none five days later against UConn.
But by doing away with some things on offense, he was putting his focus elsewhere. He was embracing the Huggins philosophy and merely doing what he knew he could do - guard, move, run and rebound.
"I knew it would be challenging and it's about gaining confidence and getting that swagger about yourself," Miles said. "You find out who you are and what you can do to contribute."
Miles didn't lose his starting spot and his coaches didn't waver because they saw Miles in the gym during whatever free time he could find. They knew he cared, that he was working to find his offense, even if he had helped it disappear. He wasn't forcing things, wasn't taking bad shots, wasn't turning the ball over - an overlooked skill and something he's done only eight times in 17 games.