MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — From Joe Mazzulla to Jevon Carter, tough guards have headlined the Bob Huggins era of West Virginia basketball.

In 2022, Huggins has the perfect guard duo to fit this bill: Kedrian Johnson and Joe Toussaint. The veteran duo tag teams the defensive backcourt and could shape the Mountaineers up to be one of the toughest teams in the Big 12 to score on.

Johnson and Toussaint have been tested throughout WVU’s 10 games this season, but their first real challenge in Morgantown came on Dec. 10, when UAB visited the WVU Coliseum. They were both assigned to Jordan “Jelly” Walker, the Blazers’ small, quick point guard that is the preseason favorite to defend his title as Conference USA Player of the Year.

Walker scored 19 points, but he gave up seven turnovers and made well below 50 percent of his shots.

“You heard all week about how good the little guy is in Birmingham, and I kept saying, ‘He hasn’t seen Keddy yet.’ Keddy did a terrific job,” Huggins said after the game. “Then when he was not on him, Joe was on him, and Joe did a good job.”

Both Johnson and Toussaint have played above their value so far this season as they have each overperformed on the offensive end. Toussaint is one of WVU’s four double-digit scorers, while Johnson is pining to be the fifth, averaging 8.9 points per game while notching double figures in five of WVU’s last seven games.

Outside of the scoring column, the duo are in a tight race to be the team’s leading assisted. As it stands, Toussaint has a slight edge over Johnson, 35 to 32.

“Those two are not just good at the defensive end, but they’re hard to guard on the offensive end,” Huggins added. “I think Keddy was one or two away from his all-time high.” (Johnson scored 17 points against UAB, one shy of his career best.)

Their main vulnerability is their singularity: there is only one of each and Huggins doesn’t feel he can play them in tandem for fear of foul trouble. They have shared the court quite a bit, though, and Huggins has indicated that he is getting more comfortable putting them on the floor at the same time.

“We don’t have a backup for them, so they’ve got to be smart and not make dumb fouls,” Huggins said. “You’re going to get called for fouls, but you can’t get dumb fouls, and I think they’re getting better at it.”