KeVaughn Allen scored 19 points and Florida, despite going scoreless for nearly nine minutes, defeated West Virginia 66-56 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
A 17-2 second-half run sparked the Gators (5-3), who are trying to recover from a shaky start to their nonconference schedule.
Chase Harler sank three late 3-pointers for West Virginia (5-3), which suffered 20 turnovers and saw its four-game winning streak snapped.
Florida prevailed despite 28-of-46 foul shooting. The Gators made only 33 percent from the floor, but that was better than West Virginia’s 29 percent.
The Mountaineers temporarily erased a double-digit deficit early in the second half, but soon fell into a 1-of-15 shooting drought that stretched 10 minutes.
West Virginia’s drought was so pronounced that Sagaba Konate squandered an uncontested putback dunk when the ball slipped out of his grasp at the rim.
The junior center fouled out with four points on 2-of-10 shooting with five turnovers.
West Virginia, which came in averaging 86 points per game, started sluggishly with eight turnovers and four baskets on its first 20 possessions.
Keith Stone made a conventional three-point play and sank a deep 3-pointer during a 12-2 run that extended Florida’s lead to 26-13.
The Mountaineers stabilized over the final 2:41 of the half, scoring nine unanswered points to draw within 30-27.
Florida missed 11 straight shots and failed to score for an 8:55 stretch that enveloped halftime. The span transformed the Gators’ 30-18 lead into a 31-30 deficit.
Then Allen made two free throws and a jumper to re-start the Gators on their decisive spurt.
—Field Level Media