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.