We live in a time in sports
The recent woes of the WVU men’s basketball team shows that poor second halves are a trend rather than a fluke. Four times in the last five games, the Mountaineers have given up double-digit leads, including a 17-point comeback Saturday night b Kentucky, at the WVU Coliseum.
The first was the season-opener, in Germany, against Texas A&M, but WVU followed that up with a 15-game winning streak, and all seemed forgiven. A road loss at Texas Tech (up 11), at home vs. Kansas (up 16) and another road loss (up seven) has changed the perception on what many thought could be a special season, although it’s far from being over.
But the Mountaineers aren’t the only team to suffer from this dilemma. Two years ago, the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The Warriors won a league-record 73 games in the regular season and became the butt of jokes and internet memes for months.
A few months later, Cleveland was on the opposite side of the collapse, when the Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Indians in the World Series.
A few more months go by, and the Atlanta Falcons saw a 28-3 lead evaporate in the second half of Super Bowl 51, as the Patriots won, 34-28, in overtime.
The Georgia football team, like the Falcons, held a double-digit lead on Alabama in the national championship, but also lost in OT.
Warning: The rest of this column is dedicated to remembering a few of WVU’s biggest meltdowns on the basketball court and on the gridiron. Feel free to flip the page.
— WVU at Kansas in men’s basketball, 2017: The Mountaineers had the Jayhawks right where they wanted them at “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse, leading 64-50 with 2:58 left in the game. Kansas ended up winning, 84-80, in overtime. Not much else needs to be said.
— Iowa State at WVU in football, 2013: While in the grand scheme of things, this game meant little compared to other games on this list. The Mountaineers leaped out to a 31-7 lead in the second quarter. The Cyclones stormed back to tie it,
38-38, and eventually won in three overtimes, 52-44.
— WVU vs. Louisville in men’s basketball, 2005 Elite Eight: This one may rank up there as the worst of the worst for many WVU fans. The Mountaineers led the Cardinals, 38-18, at one point in the first half, and led by 13 points at halftime. Louisville outscored WVU, 50-37, in the second half, forcing overtime, and that was all she wrote. The Cardinals pulled out a 93-85 win and advanced to the Final Four.
— Pitt at WVU in football, 1989: Rico Tyler caught a touchdown pass from Major Harris to put WVU up, 31-9, with 4:06 left to go in the third quarter. That score stood until the 9:20 mark in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers rattled off 22-straight points in the final 9 1/2 minutes, culminating in Ed Frazier’s 42-yard field as time expired. College football did not adopt its overtime rules until the 1996 season, so the game ended in a 31-31 tie.
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