Florida versus West Virginia; FOREPLAY


– Before the tip from Portland, read Jacob Rudner’s scouting preview of today’s opponent, the West Virginia Mountaineers.


– Florida and west Virginia duel as the Gators try to build on Friday’s win over Oregon State. The Gators and Mountaineers meet for the 11th and fourth time in the past eight seasons. Colin Castleton had 21 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots in the Gators’ victory on Jan. 30, 2021 in Morgantown in the last UF-WVU meeting.

Trey Bonham exploded in the Phil Knight Legacy, averaging 21.0 points across the Gators’ two games while leading the team in both competitions (23 vs. Xavier, 19 vs. Oregon State).

Will Richard has scored an efficient goal from the wing and scored at least 13 points in every game while shooting .580 from field, .500 from 3-point range and a perfect 14-on-14 from the free-throw line. Richard scored a season-high with 18 points against Xavier.

– Colin Castleton’s double-double against Xavier (11 points, 10 rebounds) marked his 15th as a gator and tied with Joakim Noah and Chandler Parsons for the fifth most by a Gator since the 1996-97 season.

– UF’s 19-point rally at Florida State was the fourth-biggest in team history and the biggest on the road since a 22-point comeback in South Carolina on Feb. 24, 1993. Castleton scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half .

Colin Castleton opened the season on fire, notching back-to-back 30-point games, notching a career-best 33 against Kennesaw State and 30 against FAU. Nine times in UF history has an individual recorded consecutive 30-point games, and Castleton is the seventh different player to accomplish the feat. He was the first since Anthony Roberson in January 2005 (see page 6 for full list).

– Castleton became the first gator with a 30-point double-double since Joakim Noah (11/37 v Georgia, 3/1/06) and the only SEC player since the 1996-97 season with 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots in a game, a statistic he achieved against FAU.

Kowacie Reeves started in the first four games of the season and rose later with a pair of 3-pointers in the win over Kennesaw State. Reeves had a strong postseason in his freshman campaign, averaging 16.3 points over the Gators’ three tournament games, including a career-best 21 against Texas A&M in the SEC tournament.

– Grade Point Guard Kyle Lofton (Saint Bonaventure), a three-time All-A-10 who scored 1,613 points in four seasons with the Bonnies, came to Florida via the transfer portal. UF also brings a trio of transfers, all of whom have three years left to play: Junior Trey Bonham (VMI), second year Alex Fudge (LSU) and sophomore Will Richard (Belmont).

— Bonham averaged 11.3 points over two seasons at VMI, and Richard averaged 12.1 points per game during his freshman campaign at Belmont while the bouncy Jacksonville native was Alex Fudge looks to make a second jump.

– UF also added two newcomers who are getting a back seat at the Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando Denzel Aberdeen and Riley ballalong with the big man Alex Szymczyk from Frankfurt, Germany.

– Golden took the lead in Florida after three seasons as head coach in San Francisco. He set a 57-36 record with the Dons and led them to their first NCAA tournament offer since 1998 and their first pick at large since 1982.