West Virginia got back on track with a 76-71 win over Oakland at the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday night.
It was another sloppy game, though. Despite a hot start, West Virginia (5-5) went cold and allowed Oakland (4-8) to build a lead. The Golden Grizzlies led by as many as eight in the first half. West Virginia then went on a 6-0 run to end the half and pulled within two, making the score 39-37 at halftime.
Oakland actually dominated the glass in the first half, which was surprising for a team that has struggled in that regard for most of the season. The team also shot well from behind the line, which was not a surprise at all.
The Golden Grizzlies would then come out just as strong in the second half, stretching the lead to seven early on. That's about when West Virginia got hot. The Mountaineers were able to pull even, and then took their biggest lead of the game.
Keaton Miles hit two consecutive three-pointers to make it a two-score lead, and the Mountaineers used that to build off of. Yet, again, Oakland went on a run to make it close, and with 2:29 remaining in the game Travis Bader hit a three to tie it.
But that would be the last basket that Oakland would hit. Bader missed a three with less than ten seconds left that could have tied it, and West Virginia made it a two-score lead on the ensuing free throws. The Mountaineers would go on to win, 76-71.
Bader has been outstanding for the Golden Grizzlies all year, coming into the game averaging 19.6 points per game, and he gave the Mountaineers all kinds of trouble. He would go on to score 25 in this one, and was the big reason that Oakland was able to make it a game.
He did get himself in foul trouble, though, which forced him to miss some time on the court. When he was off, Oakland wasn't the same team. The Golden Grizzlies also got 15 points from Drew Valentine, and 14 from Corey Petros.
As is normal, the scoring was spread out for the Mountaineers. Eleven different players were able to score for them. The team was led by Aaric Murray, who put up 12. He didn't make the trip to Brooklyn to play Michigan, but bounced back in a big way against Oakland. Juwan Staten added eleven, and Keaton Miles and Terry Henderson each earned ten for West Virginia.
West Virginia also beat the Golden Grizzlies two years ago in the teams' only previous meeting. The Mountaineers won that game, 95-71.
Wednesday's win ended a two-game losing streak for the Mountaineers. West Virginia's next opponent will be Radford. That game will tip at 4 pm at the Coliseum, and will be televised by Root Sports.