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No. 11 West Virginia hopes to take best shot vs. Florida
West Virginia recovered -- at least for one game -- from its season-long shooting woes during an 88-87 comeback win over No. 10 Texas Tech on Monday.
The No. 11 Mountaineers made their final 10 shots, and none was more clutch than Miles McBride's game-winner off the glass with six seconds left. West Virginia, which ranks second-to-last in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (42.6 percent), shot 57.7 percent (30-for-52) against the Red Raiders.
"We finally made shots," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. "We had opportunities. We missed free throws. We turned it over. We were our own worst enemy for the first 32 minutes. Then the ball started going in for us. That's the crazy thing. Once it starts going in, it has a tendency to keep going."
West Virginia (11-4, 4-3 Big 12) hopes to keep its shooting touch going when it hosts the surging Florida Gators (9-4, 6-3 SEC) in Morgantown on Saturday afternoon as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
Florida has won three in a row to match its longest winning streak of the season, and already has a convincing win over a top-15 opponent -- beating then-No. 6 Tennessee 75-49 at home on Jan. 19.
Guard Tre Mann continued to pace the Gators with 15 points and Colin Castleton finished with 13 points in a 78-71 victory over Vanderbilt, which put Florida in a tie for second place in the SEC with LSU.
The Gators, however, led by as many as 22 points before they needed to hold off a late comeback attempt by the Commodores, leaving coach Mike White to warn about complacency as Florida heads into its toughest road test of the season.
"We've got to handle success better than we did after this past week," White said after the game.
The Mountaineers' win over Texas Tech was their first home game in more than two weeks after three games were postponed due to COVID-19 issues within their program.
McBride, who scored a season-high 24 points, was concerned about West Virginia's defensive effort as the Mountaineers forced only two turnovers after Kansas State committed 28 in their previous game.
"Us forcing only two turnovers is not what our identity is," McBride said. "There's other ways to win games and that's how it is in the Big 12. You just have to figure out those ways."
McBride leads West Virginia in scoring (15.9 points per game) followed by forward Derek Culver (13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds per game) and guard Taz Sherman (12.1 ppg).
Since losing star forward Keyontae Johnson for the season, Florida has relied on the balanced scoring from the quintet of Mann (14.7 ppg), Castleton (12.8), Scottie Lewis (10.9), Noah Locke (10.7) and Tyree Appleby (10.5).
Lewis returned against Vanderbilt after having missed the previous four games due to health and safety precautions and finished with 10 points, four assists and four steals in 28 minutes.
"That's my job," Lewis said. "The coaches want me to lead. I'm supposed to take over."
--Field Level Media