GAINESVILLE, Fl.–Dorian Finney-Smith scored 24 points as Florida thumped No. 9 West Virginia 88-71 on Saturday afternoon in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The Gators (14-7) had lost its last 12 games against top-10 teams, but Florida had its best outing of the season against the Mountaineers (17-4). It was Mike Smith’s first big win since taking over the reigns in Gainesville.
Finney-Smith made 7-of-12 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. KeVaughn Allen tallied 19 points and Chris Chiozza added 10.
Devin Williams picked up his ninth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 rebounds. But the 6-foot-9 junior was just 4-of-15 from the floor and had three turnovers.
Brandone Francis-Ramirez was the surprise of the day for the Gators. The freshman entered the game shooting 5 for 40 from beyond the arc, but he hit everything against WVU. He finished with nine points, sinking three 3-pointers.
“We didn’t guard and our pressure is close to non-existent anymore,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said.
“We’ve got guys worried about fouling and guys worried about staying in the game longer.”
The Mountaineers made just 7-of-20 from 3-point land and shot 43 percent from the field.
Florida opened up a 20-point lead midway through the second half and never let WVU back in it.
But the first half is what did the Mountaineers in.
Egbunu’s sensational putback slam with 12:11 to play gave Florida a 19-8 lead.
WVU was down by 16 when Phillip sparked a 12-0 run with a huge three with 8:10 remaining in the first.
A layup by Adrian cut the Gators lead to 31-27 with 5:53 left in the half.
But that was as close as the Mountaineers would get before Florida went on a 13-3 run to take a 45-30 lead at the half. During that run, the Gators were 10-of-10 from the foul line.
Coming into the game, Florida ranked 334th in foul shooting and they were 12th in the SEC in 3-point shooting. The Gators were on point against the WVU in both departments.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over 18 times while only forcing 14 turnovers from the Gators.
“We continue to turn the ball over,” Huggins said. “I counted five transition opportunities when we had big numbers and turned the ball over before we could get a shot off. That’s 10 points that would have gotten us back into the game and give us a chance.”
WVU is 0-3 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Last season the Mountaineers lost to LSU and Missouri in the 2013-14 season.
Adrian started the game in place of Jonathan Holton, who is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Florida was without starting forward Justin Leon, who suffered a concussion against Vanderbilt on Tuesday.
WVU will travel to Ames to take on No. 14 Iowa State Tuesday night at 9 p.m. (ET).
Quotes Courtesy of WVUsports.com