MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Colin Castleton and Noah Locke helped life Florida past No. 12 WVU in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at the Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
Castleton had 21 points and Locke had 19 for the Gators. Tyree Appleby added 12 points.
Derek Culver notched a double-double, scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Sean McNeil tallied 21 points and Taz Sherman 11 for the Mountaineers.
With 1:40 remaining in the game, Culver made a second-chance layup to pull WVU within 81-80.
Seconds later, Culver sent Castleton to the charity stripe and the Gators took an 83-80 lead.
The Mountaineers had several opportunities but couldn’t find the basket before Applebee made two free throws and making it a two-possession contest with 28 seconds to go.
“We let them (Florida) get started,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “We didn’t guard them coming out of halftime. They’re good. They’ve got really good players. They got us spread out. We didn’t play with a lot of aggression. I thought in the first half, we made a run where we did. We have a guy in the corner guarding a guy and the ball almost rolls up his leg. We don’t get it. We have the ball on the floor, and we have guys standing there, and they have two guys diving after it. You’re not going to win like that. This was a hard game, but we are going to play hard games the rest of the way. Our league is about hard games. We have guys that just didn’t respond today. They didn’t respond to it being hard.”
In the first half, WVU and Florida battled back and forth. The Mountaineers went on a 6-0 run to end the half and take a 42-37 lead at the break.
Culver muscled 21 points alone in the first half.
WVU shot 40 percent from the field, 29 percent from beyond the arc and 71 percent from the free throw line.
Florida shot 48 percent from the floor, 47 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the line.
The Mountaineers travel to Ames to take on Iowa State on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Dale Sparks