The Florida Gators improved to 5-3 with a victory over West Virginia (5-3) Tuesday night. The matchup was the second in a double-header at Madsion Square Garden in New York as part of the Jimmy V Classic.
The starters for Mike White‘s squad were Andrew Nembhard, KeVaughn Allen, Noah Locke, Keith Stone, and Kevarrius Hayes. Florida jumped out the gates with a quick start, getting a corner three pointer from Locke off the feed from fellow freshman Nembhard. The Gators came out with fire, but had trouble pulling away early, although WVU turned the ball over a bunch early, Florida missed numerous scoring opportunities – the majority of them being three pointers.
After multiple missed three point attempts in the first half, senior guard KeVaughn Allen was able to get one to go down on the fast break. Twenty-five seconds later Keith Stone was able to get one of his own to fall from the top of the key. Florida pushed it to a 24-13 lead, forcing a ferocious Bob Huggins to call a time out.
Whatever Huggins said in that interview set the Mountaineers up for a late 1st half run making what was a 30-18 Gator lead with just over 2:30 left turned into a 30-27 lead due to a 9-0 run from WVU. West Virginia is taking a lot of momentum into the second half.
As expected, the Mountaineer momentum continued into the second half, the 9-0 run stretched into a 13-0 run giving West Virginia their first lead of the game with 16:33 left in regulation. In the process of taking the lead, WVU held the Gators scoreless for 8:55 of game clock. It took a Mountaineer lead to wake UF up, but when they did, they did not look back. The Gators went on a 14-2 run off a Nembhard NBA range three pointer before a WVU time out. Immediately following the time out, KeVaughn Allen made his third 3-pointer of the game to give Florida a 47-33 midway through the second half.
After going back and forth for a few minutes, at 4:31 mark remaining in regulation, West Virginia star center Sagaba Konate fouled out by picking up his fifth foul and finishing his night with 4 points and five turnovers. A pair of Chase Harler threes then made it a ten point Florida lead, 53-43.
For the final time remaining in the game, West Virginia played the foul game sending Florida to the line to continue to extend the game time. The Mountaineers star players inability to contribute left them out of this game since Florida went on their second half run. Mike White’s defense was able to force 21 turnovers and scored 20 points off of those turnovers, leading to a 66-56 Win for the Gators.
Stone – 9 points, 8 rebounds
Hayes – 6 points, 7 rebounds
Nembhard – 7 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
Locke – 8 points
Allen – 19 points, 5 rebounds
K. Johnson – 9 points, 4 rebounds
WEST VIRGINIA: 56
Ahmed – 7 points, 9 rebounds
Konate – 4 points, 6 rebounds
Harris – 9 points, 5 rebounds
Harler – 11 points
Gordon – 6 points, 5 rebounds
Knapper – 7 points