West Virginia overcame a slow start and bad shooting to end its season with a 60-53 win over Oakland Tuesday night in Morgantown, W.Va.
Bob Huggins, who started his 40th season as head coach, agreed with good friend Greg Kampe, who was starting his 38th year at the school.
Making their 10th appearance in 14 seasons under Huggins in the 2020-21 NCAA tournament, the Mountaineers looked for new goal options and returned guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil. However, it was veteran Gabe Osabuohien who consistently provided West Virginia with the much-needed sparks at both ends of the floor with indictments and offensive boards. He finished with six points and nine rebounds.
Sherman surpassed West Virginia with 18 points and five assists. McNeil finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Oakland Preseason All-Horizon League point guard Jalen Moore struggled from the ground and only went 2 of 15. He finished with four points, four assists and six rebounds. Marquette transfer Jamal Cain picked up the offensive weakness and led the team with 15 points before committing a foul. Trey Townsend scored 12 points and Micah Parrish had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
West Virginia battled Oakland’s vigorous 1-3-1 zone defense early on. The Golden Grizzlies also outperformed the hosts 26-19 in the first half, and Oakland led for much of the first 20 minutes.
Both teams had problems with the 3-point range when Sherman hit the first long shot of the game in the first half with 5:32 minutes. The teams combined 3 of 22 from beyond the arch in the first 20 minutes, and both teams shot less than 35 percent off the ground overall.
The Mountaineers opened the second half with the heightened energy they showed in the last part of the first and received defensive contributions across the board. They were also able to better navigate the Oakland Zone, particularly Sherman. Despite some offensive problems returning, West Virginia was able to hold a rally in Oakland.