by Jim Buzzerd
Gators chomp WVU
The West Virginia University Basketball Team couldn’t defend the three-point line in the second half last Saturday and fell to the Florida Gators 85-80 in the Big 12/SEC challenge in the WVU Coliseum. The loss overshadowed Derek Culver’s career high 28-point effort. He added 12 rebounds. Culver did most of his damage in the first half as he scored half of WVU’s 42 first-half points. He was 6-for-6 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line.
On the other side of the coin Florida was a relatively harmless 1-for-6 from the three-point line in the first half, but began to find themselves wide open in the second half and made 7-of-11 from behind the arc. So, they took Culver out of the game in the second half and hit open threes in that period and the result equals a loss.
Miles McBride, who had a brilliant game in last Monday’s comeback win over Texas Tech, had one of his worst performances of the season going 3-for-15 from the field and no three pointers. Taz Sherman scored 11 points, but was 2-for-5 from the foul line. He entered the game leading the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 90%. Sean McNeil kept WVU in the game with a hot hand from behind the arc. He was 5-for-11 from downtown with 21 points. The problem was late in the game he fired off a couple three-point attempts with a hand in his face, plus he was somewhere around 30 feet out. The shot selection was too fast and too far.
“When the shots don’t go in, you are not going to win,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “When all your shots come from the perimeter and you go 1-for-2 from the free throw line consistently as we did in the second half, you are not going to win hard games like this. As poorly as we shot the ball, and as poorly as we shot from the free throw line, it is amazing we were even in the game as long as we were in the game.”
“We let them get started,” Huggins said. “We didn’t guard them coming out at halftime. And they’re good. They’ve got really good players and they got us spread. We just didn’t play with a lot of aggression. Defense to a large degree is about heart, about competing. When you don’t compete, you get exposed.”
West Virginia traveled to Iowa State Tuesday night and will host Kansas this Saturday at 2 p.m. on CBS.