MORGANTOWN - For a good portion of the first half of Wednesday night's game against Oakland, it looked as if West Virginia was on its way to a third straight loss at its worst start since the 1977-78 season.
But a Gary Browne floater as the shot clock expired with 1:50 remaining lifted the Mountaineers (5-5) to a win over Oakland, 76-71, at the WVU Coliseum.
"I felt like we were moving forward after the Virginia Tech win, but then we came out against Duquesne and were flat. We've been up and down," sophomore point guard Juwan Staten said. "We've just got to find some consistency."
Much like in last Saturday's loss to No. 3 Michigan, things didn't start the way the Mountaineers wanted them to in the first half.
After making its first three shots of the game and jumping out to an 8-4 lead against the Golden Grizzlies (4-8), WVU went cold and didn't score for the next three minutes. From there Oakland took control, leading by as many as eight points late in the half.
A 6-0 run in the closing minutes of the first half allowed the Mountaineers to close the gap to two, heading into the locker room trailing 39-37.
"Everything is definitely there, we've just got to do it on a consistent basis," Staten said. "When we had to lock down and play great defense and make shots down the stretch tonight, we were able to do that.
"But throughout the game our focus faded a little bit. That leads to some of those drop-offs like we've had."
Oakland got a boost early from senior forward Drew Valentine and junior guard Travis Bader. The duo combined to shoot 9-for-13 in the first half for 26 points.
Bader entered the game as the Golden Grizzlies' leading scorer, averaging almost 20 points per game, and finished Wednesday's contest with 25 points.
In its last five games, the opposing team's leading scorer is averaging 20 points per game against WVU.
One big boost for the Mountaineers compared to the other games they have struggled in was the fact that they were hitting their shots, especially in the second half.