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Mountaineers Welcome Florida For Big 12/SEC Challenge

The No. 11-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers will welcome the Florida Gators to the WVU Coliseum for the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

The Mountaineers (11-4, 4-3 Big 12) are coming off of a huge win over No. 10 Texas Tech, after trailing by 12 points with seven minutes to play.

Deuce McBride put the team on his back at the end of the game on Monday. McBride finished with 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The sophomore guard from Cincinnati, Ohio, scored 19-of-his-24 points in the second half.

“We have a lot of fight in us. We are still trying to get through a lot of little mistakes,” McBride said.

“We’re not going to back down from anybody. We’re going to keep moving after we make a mistake, next play type of mentality,” McBride added.

Now, WVU looks to move on from the incredible win and will play the Florida Gators (9-4, 6-3 SEC).

Michael White’s group is an unpredictable basketball team. The Gators’ biggest win is a blowout win over No. 6 Tennessee, 75-49.

Florida’s four losses come to Alabama (75-49), Florida State (83-71), Kentucky (78-56) and Mississippi State (72-69).

UF will continue to be without forward Keyontae Johnson for the rest of the season after collapsing during the Florida State game.

Tre Mann leads the Gators in scoring, averaging 14.7 points-per-game. The sophomore guard has shown major improvement statistically from his freshman year. From minutes to steals, Mann has doubled or tripled his first-year averages. The Florida native averages a near four assists a game.

Mann has a supporting cast of Colin Castleton (12.8 ppg), Noah Locke (10.7 ppg), Scottie Lewis (10.9 ppg) and Tyree Appleby (10.5 ppg).

Florida averages 77.8 points-per-game, which is 66th in the country. UF allows 70.3 points-per-game. Don’t be surprised if there’s another shoot-out in the WVU Coliseum on Saturday.

The Gators are fifth in the country in blocks.

Former Mountaineer Darris Nichols will return to the WVU Coliseum for the first time as a coach, since being a graduate assistant from 2008-11. Nichols joined White at Louisiana Tech in 2014 and followed him to Florida when White joined the staff in 2015.

Nichols played under Bob Huggins his senior season. It was the first season of coach Huggins’ tenure at WVU.

This will be the first time since 1970 that the Gators will play in Morgantown.

No. 11 West Virginia and Florida will tip-off at 2 p.m. for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Coverage will be on ESPN.

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