Mountaineers Reach Advocare Championship With Wipeout Of UCF
West Virginia’s shooting woes from Thursday weren’t evident on Friday, as the Mountaineers easily dispatched UCF 83-45 in the semifinal round of the Advocare Invitational in Orlando.
With the win, WVU moved into Sunday’s Advocare championship game. It will face Missouri (5-1) at 9:30 p.m. from the H.P. Field House. The Tigers outlasted St. John’s 90-82 in their semifinal affair earlier on Friday.
Four Mountaineers got to double figures in the scoring column Friday against UCF, led by Beetle Bolden, who had 17. Jevon Carter added 16 points, while Daxter Miles and Sagaba Konate each had 14. Konate just missed his second straight double-double, as the sophomore center also pulled down nine rebounds.
After a bit of a slow start to the game, Carter and Beetle Bolden sparked a run that lifted the Mountaineers to a 43-20 halftime lead. Bolden had 12 points in the first half, all coming on a 4-of-7 shooting effort from three-point range, while Carter scored 11 points in the opening period. Of course it didn’t hurt WVU’s cause that UCF made just 4-of-21 shots in the first half and turned the ball over 17 times. West Virginia held a 17-0 advantage in the points-off-turnover category in the first 20 minutes.
The second half proved to be more of the same. The Knights kept WVU’s lead near 20 points for the first few minutes, until an 18-0 West Virginia run midway through the period pushed the Mountaineer lead to 71-33. At that point, the only question was if the Knights would reach the 40-point mark, something all but two West Virginia opponents have done in the last 10 years. UCF did get to 45, but which it made just 12-of-49 shots from the floor. It also didn’t hit any of its first 11 three-point tries until final seconds, getting a jumper from beyond the arc to fall just before the horn sounded.
WVU forced 27 Knight turnovers, and converted those into 27 points, compared to the 16 West Virginia turnovers UCF converted into 16 points.
The only Central Florida player to reach double figures in scoring was its 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, who had 11 points to go along with eight rebounds. Despite his length, he managed just one blocked shot Friday.
The Golden Knights (4-1) suffered their first loss of the season. Coached by former Duke star Johnny Dawkins, came into Friday’s clash with West Virginia having defeated Nebraska (68-59) in the Advocare quarterfinals the day before. UCF had previously defeated Mercer (88-79), Gardner-Webb (68-65) and William & Mary (75-64).
West Virginia made 32-of-70 field goal attempts (.457) and 9-of-25 three-point tries (36.0). It also won the rebounding battle 45-39
The Mountaineers improved their record to 5-1 with the victory. Their only loss of the year came in their previous matchup against a Power 5 program, falling to Texas A&M in the season opener. WVU will get another chance against a Power 5 club Sunday night when it faces Missouri with the Advocare Invitational title on the line.