The No. 10 Florida Gators ended 2011 with a 20-point victory over Yale Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared his thoughts on the victory.
“ONE OF THE BEST GAMES WE’VE PLAYED THIS YEAR”
With Florida in a nine-point hole early in the game, the Gators never got flustered and did not press, quickly pulling even and far ahead of Yale on the way to a solid victory. UF shot 53.4 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from downtown, had a three-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio and had 24 assists on 31 made baskets. Those are just a few of the reasons Donovan was so pleased after the contest.
“I thought it was one of the best games we played this year,” he said. “I thought we were great. I was really pleased with the way we moved the ball, shared the ball. I thought we really played the right way today. We tried to play the right way.”
He was also quite happy with the team’s defense, especially that of redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario, who has been anything but reliable to that end this season.
“It was the first time I felt as a coach since he’s been here that I wasn’t frightened to death with him on defense,” Donovan said with a wry grin. “His comment to me is, ‘Well, I’m trying.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’re supposed to try.’ It was the first time I actually thought that there was a level of focus and commitment there to try and do a good job there. Therefore he played more.”
WALKER LEARNING TO SACRIFICE WILL GO A LONG WAY
Before the season began, Donovan called out senior point guard Erving Walker and said, specifically, that he wanted him to lead the Southeastern Conference in assists and not worry about scoring. Walker has done that on occasion and seen positive results, but he has also fallen back into his own ways during a number of games, contests in which Florida has struggled.
Without naming anyone specifically, Donovan made a pointed statement that was likely directed at Walker. “I still think we’re figuring out that there’s going to be a level of sacrifice inside of our team that everybody’s going to have to make to a certain extent,” he said. He was, however, pleased to see the good Walker show up Saturday.
“Erving Walker only took four shots. Can he handle that? Are you OK with that? Can you genuinely be [OK with that]? That’s what I’m asking him,” he explained. “He wants to win, but him understanding how the game is going, we’re OK right now. We don’t need you taking a lot of shots. I think that’s something he’s working through and learning, and it’s part of our growth and development as a team.”