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UF Men’s Basketball: Florida 85, #11 West Virginia 80

UF guard Tyree Appleby on the move during Saturday’s game at West Virginia. 

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

Florida 85, #11 West Virginia 80
WVU Coliseum
Morgantown, W.Va.

Records: Florida 10-4 (6-3 SEC), #11 West Virginia 11-5 (4-3 Big 12)

Box Score (PDF)
2020-21 Season Stats

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  *   Florida won its fourth game in a row and improved to 3-0 against West Virginia under Mike White, with all three of those wins scouted by assistant coach Darris Nichols, who played at WVU 2004-08. The Gators move to 4-2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge under White.
     *   The win marked Florida’s 17th vs. a ranked opponent under White, the 11th away from Gainesville, and the fourth in a true road game.
  *   Noah Locke tallied 19 points and shot 4-for-7 from 3-point range, including a pair of second-half threes, 34 seconds apart, that edged Florida into a 59-58 lead at the 13:50 mark of the second half.
  *   Colin Castleton posted 21 points, including 15 in the second half. He shot 9-for-9 from the free throw line, matching his career best for most free throws made. He added five blocked shots, the third time in his last five appearances to post five-plus blocks.
  *   The Gators shot .552 from the field in the second half, while limiting the Mountaineers to a .333 rate.

Noah Locke
On the number of fouls…
“I feel like that’s something that we harp on a lot. That’s one of our biggest goals throughout the whole game, I mean pretty much every game, is to limit fouls. I think it’s something that we have to just continue to work on and I mean, also just continue to play. When we get fouls, we sometimes get down, but we have to continue to play at the same level and even at a better level. I mean, like I said, we probably did have to reset and get better at it but overall, I feel like it went the right way for us.”

On the defensive effort…
“Just continuing to stay confident. We had our coaches on the sideline telling us to continue to be confident throughout the whole game. That’s pretty much what it was. We all came together and we believe that we can score, so that’s what we did.”

On the big win…
“This is really huge, really huge. I think this is my first one on the road since I’ve been here. I mean, it definitely feels great. We just have to keep the momentum going.”

Colin Castleton
On defensive adjustments on Culver…
“We were just being soft in the first half, didn’t play hard enough. He got a bunch of easy buckets that he wasn’t supposed to, so kind of just honed in on that in the second half. Didn’t give him as many easy looks as we did in the first half. Got a bunch of layups and just really locked in on that. Basically, being soft.”

On playing without flow…
“Coach (White) keeps telling us to stop fouling. We’re going to have to go back to Florida and keep working on that. It’s one of our biggest deficiencies, just keep fouling. Not showing our hands. Really bad fouls. I think we have to keep working on that so we can help the flow of the game and do what we do best, which is get on runs. At the end of the day, we have to stop fouling.”

On his three-point play…
“Yeah, he kind of almost threw the ball to me and I just landed wide open, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to take it in there and be strong with it.’ Came up with the and-one, so it was a good play.”

Coach Mike White

On the second half defense…
“Crazy game. I never felt like we got into a great defensive rhythm. Of course, we were better in the second half. We did a better job on (Derek) Culver in the second half. We did a bad job on shooters. We did a poor job on (Sean) McNeil. That said, it’s easier said than done to get to him after your coach is screaming at you to make sure that they’re double-teaming the big fella’ when he gets it so they had us in some rotations. Culver was amazing, to say the least, in the first half. I thought we were a little quicker to the fire in the second half. I thought he got a few less touches in the second half based on some perimeter tracing of the ball. That first post-defender, that guy guarding that ball around the perimeter, I thought we just played with a little more energy and a little more attention to detail, understanding just how dominant he can be when he gets a lot of touches.”

On handling West Virginia’s pressure…
“I thought transition offense was a huge factor for us. The few stops we did get in the second half, I thought led to some open looks. The few open ones we got, we made. We stepped up. Tre Mann and Noah Locke hit big ones. Scottie Lewis hit a big one, but in terms of handling the pressure, I mean you look down and we had 13 turnovers, again. It’s something that we have to continue to get better at. Two games in a row where we faced a lot of blitzing on ball screens. Two teams that threw it at us more than any team we’ve seen. I thought we were prepared for it, although I don’t think we handled it really well. But (West Virginia is) great at it. It’s what they do and, heck, they might adjust in their next game to play a little bit different defensively. It’s a high, high level program, of course. (Coach) Huggins has won about seven million games and they guard the heck out of you. It looked ugly at times and to look down and see you scored 85 is a little hard to believe, honestly.”

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