No Gator Bait - WVU Bags Florida, Nelson

It was supposed to be a homecoming cruise for Brett Nelson, but the Mountaineers prepared a rude welcome for the St. Albans native and his Florida teammates at the Charleston Civic Center.

West Virginia harrassed Nelson into a 3-13 shooting night and made it a miserable homecoming as they ambushed the seventh-ranked Gators 68-66 on Tuesday evening.

"It's a great step forward not just for our program, but for the whole University, to come down here and get a win like this," head coach John Beilein said of the big upset.

Drew Schifino blocked Nelson's three point attempt with six seconds to go, then defended Nelson tightly to force an airball as time expired.

In the first half things weren't so tight, as Florida looked to be ready to put the game away by the ten minute mark. The Gators rode their trademark pressure defense to several leads of seven and eight points. A Matt Walsh three pointer at the 2:23 mark of the first half put the Gators up by ten at 30-20, and things looked a bit bleak for the Mountaineers.

However, as they've done many times already this year, WVU did not panic, throw up bad shots, or collapse into a heap. West Virginia responded with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to one at intermission, and left the court to the roar of a rejuvenated crowd.

The second half was a seesaw affair that saw the Gators build leads as large as nine points. Each time, however, WVU was ready with an answer. Those answers, though, were never enough to give WVU the lead until the final minute of the game, when Jo Herber hit a step back three pointer with :51 left to put WVU up at 66-64.

A Drew Schifino free throw pushed the margin to three, but Matt Bonner responded with a jumper to cut the lead to one. Jarmon Collins then hit a free throw to put West Virginia in front by two to set up Schifino's game ending defensive stand.

Schifino and Matt Bonner shared game high scoring honors with 18 points. Tyrone Sally and Jo Herber each had 11, while Chaz Briggs chipped in with eight. Jarmon Collins again ran the team to perfection with five assists and only one turnover. He also added a team high six rebounds.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories