Old Mistakes Resurface in WVU's Latest Win - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Old Mistakes Resurface in WVU's Latest Win

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Much like in West Virginia’s three conference losses, a double-digit lead vanished right before the Mountaineers’ eyes on Saturday afternoon at the WVU Coliseum against Texas A&M in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. But, unlike the games against Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma, the Mountaineers were able to hang on for the win, 81-77.

“When we don’t come to play we can be stopped, but when we play to our capability. I think we can be the best in the country,” Jevon Carter said, leading the Mountaineers with 19 points.

The Aggies kept it a back and forth game for most of the opening half, but WVU used a 17-2 run over the final 5:43 to build a 47-29 lead at the break.

The Mountaineers maintained at least a 10-point lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half, then those mistakes that hurt them in the past came creeping back as the Aggies pulled within six with 9:05 left to play.

“Good teams are going to go on runs, it’s just how we withstand adversity and withstand that run,” Esa Ahmad said after the game. “It wasn’t a pretty game but we got the win.”

WVU seemed to have this one wrapped up as it look a 74-61 lead with 2:36 to go, but A&M had other plans.

JC Hampton hit three three’s over the course of a minute to help get his team back in arms reach. WVU held a five-point lead with under one minute left on the clock.

“I almost had a heart attack, that was too close for me,” Brandon Watkins said.

With five seconds on the clock and 79-77 on the scoreboard, Esa Ahmad, who was 4 of 10 from the line at that point, went back to the stripe with a chance to put it away. Ahmad knocked down both shots, and Admon Gilder tried for a last second three but the shot went in stands, preserving the win for the Mountaineers.

“We just have to come out with a lot more effort. We had a big lead on them at half time and we let down in the second half,” Ahmad said. “We just have to keep it going all forty minutes.”

Lack of effort and energy have hurt the Mountaineers in recent games. So have turnovers and free throws. On Saturday, all of those issues came back to haunt the Mountaineers.

“Our effort sucked. It absolutely sucked. That is what it came down to,” Coach Huggins said, shaking his head in frustration.

WVU finished with 14 turnovers, 10 of them came in the first half alone. WVU also went 12 of 23 from the charity stripe, missing 11 of 15 in the second half.

“I’ve seen too many leads disappear. We came out the second half and didn’t play with any intensity,” Huggins said, adding that he is never comfortable with any lead.

So, with the same mistakes plaguing the Mountaineers, will they be able to overcome them and keep a double-digit lead alive until the final buzzer?

“It’s something we have done a couple games this season that we just need to figure it out and play consistent the whole game,” Watkins said of the solution.

Consistency has been something the Mountaineers have been working on, and while it seems it is still a work in progress, we can all agree it is better to go back to the drawing board with a win rather than a loss.

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