Mountaineers Lose in the Nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic to the Gators
|Field Goal %||33.3||29.7|
|Three Point %||30.0||29.2|
|Free Throw %||60.9||55.0|
The West Virginia Mountaineers (5-3) fell to the Florida Gators (5-3) 66-56, in what was the ugliest game of the year. West Virginia couldn’t find their offense, and it started with poor ball handling, finishing the night with 20 turnovers. To make matters worse, the Mountaineers couldn’t buy a bucket, shooting 19-64 (30%) from the field.
Florida didn’t play much better. They shot 33% (16-48) from the field and turned it over 15 times. However, they went 28-46 from the free throw line while West Virginia went 11-20.
Florida jumped out to a 7-2 lead behind a pair of threes from guards Noah Locke and KeVaughn Allen.
Midway through the first half, West Virginia had as many turnovers as they did points, yet they only trailed by seven, 13-6. However, Florida started to take advantage of the Mountaineers mistakes and jumped out to a 26-13 lead behind an 8-0 run.
The Mountaineers responded and went on a 14-4 run, highlighted by scoring 11 straight points to get within three to end the half. Guard Brandon Knapper scored four of the final seven points driving to the basket. The West Virginia native drove down the middle of the lane draining a running one hander. Forward Esa Ahmad drilled a three with a hand in his face before Knapper went down the lane drawing the foul and making a pair of free throws.
Nine different Mountaineers scored in the first half and Brandon Knapper led the way with seven points. Despite 10 turnovers, WVU was only trailing by three. They kept within striking distance by hitting the glass, out-rebounding the Gators by five (25-20).
West Virginia continued their run in the second half, scoring the first four points and taking a 31-30 lead. The Gators regained the lead on back to back scoring possessions from KeVaughn Allen, ending a 10:29 field goal drought.
The Mountaineers were trailing 35-33 and the Gators would end the Mountaineers momentum and go on a run, scoring 13 straight points. Florida grabbed their largest lead of the game (16) after a pair of free throws by Locke.
Chase Harler hit back to back threes to close the gap to 10 (53-43) and Florida head coach Mike White would take a timeout with 3:48 left in the game.
Coming out of the timeout, Keyontae Johnson found his way to the basket for a layup before Chase Harler hit his third straight three-pointer to get within 9.
West Virginia was playing aggressive defensively going for the ball and fouling, forcing Florida to win the game from the charity stripe. The Gators handled the freebies and finished the game going 11-14 from the line to close out the game in the final minutes