MORGANTOWN - With about 11 minutes left in West Virginia's 77-74 overtime victory against Cincinnati, Mountaineer guard Truck Bryant was dribbling the ball upcourt.
A voice pierced the general noise of the sellout crowd of 14,070.
"TRUCK!," said the young fan. "DON'T SHOOT IT!"
It was probably good advice. Bryant, the 6-foot-2 senior from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn't have an off day. He didn't have a bad day. It was as if he'd assumed the role of Mayhem from the Allstate ads.
Bryant converted just 2-of-16 shots from the field. That's a pitiful 12.5 percent shooting effort.
He converted no 3-point baskets in eight tries. You know the shooting percentage of that.
Bryant fumbled and stumbled.
And afterward, he emerged from the locker room and faced the media like a man.
"I struggled tonight," he said. "I struggled tonight. It wasn't one of my best games. But, at the end of the day, we had Jabarie [Hinds] and Gary [Browne] who stepped up. Gary was hot. He hit that 3 [to send the game to overtime]. That's what you need down the stretch in order to be a good team."
To be a better-than-good team, of course, West Virginia needs Bryant to cease having games like Saturday.
Give the man credit, though. When he has a bad game, he does so in a big way.
At Connecticut, he was 2-for-13 shooting (15.4 percent) and 1-of-7 from behind the arc. At Seton Hall, Bryant was 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) and 2-of-10 shooting treys. At Baylor, he was 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from the floor.
Bryant remains West Virginia's second-leading scorer with a 17.5 average. But when he has a clunker like Saturday, one can't help but wonder what's going on behind that bright smile.
He was asked about his first couple of misses, whether he started to doubt himself at that point.
"The first seven didn't go," Bryant said. "When the first couple don't go, that's cool. That's fine with me. But when the first seven don't go? I take it that it's going to be a long night for me."
"I had looks still. I just tried to hit 'em. I'm not going to give up. I've been making shots; I'm going to keep shooting 'em."
On Saturday, Bryant didn't have his first points until there was 2:36 left in the first half. Canned a couple of free throws.
"I thought, 'Finally, I made one,' " Bryant said. "I couldn't make a shot, but I made a free throw."
Bryant, you must understand, is a very likeable kid. He's the opposite of a college athlete prima donna. He's confident, yet humble. He can be self-deprecating. Fascinating, really. For WVU fans, through, he had to be maddening on Saturday.
At the end of regulation, with a chance to win, WVU's Keaton Miles collected a rebound and got the ball to Bryant. A smidge over five seconds remained. Bryant lost possession.
"I just fumbled it," Bryant said. "It was in back of me and I was trying to grab it and just fumbled it. And all I was trying to do was take care of the ball at that moment."
Earlier, Bryant allowed Cashmere Wright in the lane to convert a teardrop bucket.
"It was chaotic," said the Mountaineer senior. "It was almost my fault that ... I ALMOST BLEW THE GAME! Cashmere Wright drove to the basket. I heard a whistle. I guess it came from the student section though. I thought it was the ref. I just let him go. He scored the layup and that put them up by one [67-66]."