Florida beats No. 9 West Virginia, gives Michael White signature win

Florida lost by only three points at No. 5 Texas A&M, by just six points at No. 12 Michigan State. And additional almost-had-them losses to Florida State (at home) and Vanderbilt (on the road) by a combined three points had the Gators entering the weekend with a 13-7 record that didn’t properly reflect the type of job Michael White’s doing in his first season.

Simply put, White needed a signature win.

And he got it Saturday at the expense of West Virginia.

Final score: Florida 88, No. 9 West Virginia 71.

It was a blowout from start to finish.

The Gators led 3-0 12 seconds after tipoff and never trailed Saturday afternoon. They were up 11-2 barely four minutes after the game started, up 15 at the half, and in control the entire time while shooting 53.1 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from 3-point range.

Dorian Finney-Smith led all scorers with 24 points.

John Egbunu added nine points and did this to Devin Williams.

As for West Virginia … whatever. This is just a non-league road loss to a quality team. It’s not that big of a deal. But it’s a huge deal for Florida, specifically Florida’s first-year coach. Because White now has a win over a top-10 team, and his Gators have a real chance to finish in the top three of the SEC and secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Florida coach Michael White notched his first signature win vs West Virginia on Saturday. (USATSI)
Florida coach Michael White notched his first signature win vs No. 9 West Virginia on Saturday. (USATSI)

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