Comebacks not a new thing to WVU athletics 107

We live in a time in sports where no lead ever seems to be safe. Whether it’s a game or playoff series, teams have fallen victim to the dreaded word “collapse” over the last few years.

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.

Follow Sean Manning on Twitter @SeanManning_DP. Email:

Previous ArticleNext Article

Most Popular Right Now