No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball (11-2, 1-0 SEC) throttled the Georgia Bulldogs (6-8, 0-1 SEC) on Wednesday night in Gainesville, FL. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is 107-97 all-time against Georgia and boasts the most victories against this rival than any other team. The Gators hold a 24-8 record against the Bulldogs since Donovan took over the program and are 14-2 in that span while playing in the O’Dome.
» UF is 16-3 over the last 19 games against UGA with 11-straight wins at home.
» Florida is 12-5 in SEC openers under Donovan and 15-2 in SEC home openers.
» The Gators have now held seven of 12 opponents under 50 points.
» Florida registered a season-high 17 assists on 29 made baskets.
» The Gators scored 27 points off 19 Bulldogs turnovers.
» Florida scored more points in the second half (49) than Georgia did in the game (44).
» The Gators’ 33-point victory was the second-largest margin ever between the teams.
» Florida hit a season-high 12 three-pointers in the game.
» 3,200 UF students were in attendance, the highest total in the last seven years.
» Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario continued his outstanding season with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting (3-of-6 from downtown). He also went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe but did not record another statistic in the game aside from one steal.
» Junior forward Casey Prather stepped into the starting lineup as an injury replacement and scored the first six points of the game for his team. Prather finished with 10 points along with team-highs of seven rebounds and three steals.
» Junior center Patric Young was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor for 11 points. He also registered two assists, three rebounds and a team-high four blocks.
» Playing with a broken rib, junior F Erik Murphy hit 3-of-6 treys for 11 points.
» Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin went 2-for-4 from downtown for eight points and also chipped in a team-high six assists.
» Senior G Kenny Boynton had an off shooting night but entered the top-10 in school history in made field goals with his first basket. He also moved up to fourth in career starts (118) and fifth in minutes played (3,911).
Read what Donovan had to say and see much more…after the break!
DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Murphy (broken rib) and junior F Will Yeguete (knee tendinitis) being limited on Wednesday did not put the Gators in an ideal situation, but the team certainly made the best of it. With Prather seeing big minutes in a starting role, Murphy and Yeguete were able to rest up a bit even though each saw plenty of game action. After the game, Donovan explained why both players were able to go and now control their own destiny.
“[Murphy] and Will Yeguete are cleared to play. There’s nothing holding them back. No one has said to me they can only play a certain number of minutes. They’re totally cleared to play,” he said. “Both of those guys are pretty tough guys. A broken rib and [Murphy] trying to breathe and run and be a frontcourt player and take on the amount of contact he takes on, it’s a painful experience for him on a daily basis. And I give him a lot of credit for going out there and practicing yesterday and playing today. The same thing with Yeguete. Yeguete missed two days of practice. Besides winning the game, the one thing that was positive for us is those guys did not have to absorb a lot of minutes tonight.”
Donovan then expanded on Yeguete’s ailment considering it was something that had not been known publicly until just an hour before game time.
“He’s just got bad tendinitis. It’s been going on for a couple weeks here. It’s just got progressively worse. It’s his right knee,” he said. “After the Yale game, it really bothered him and then he tried to practice on Monday and couldn’t go. He tried to go again [Tuesday] and couldn’t go; it was just too painful. [He got] ice treatment, that kind of stuff, just to get him back. He went through a shoot around [Wednesday] and said he felt a little bit better. This is going to be an ongoing thing with him for a little while until we can kind of get it calmed down.”
After the game, Murphy said being forced to sit out at his homecoming game on Sunday was “definitely not fun” but he was glad that he was able to “get some rest and let it heal a little bit and just come back for SEC play.” He also discussed how it felt to play with a broken rib.
“It was alright. It wasn’t too bad. I got it padded up,” he said. “[Trainer Dave “Duke” Werner] made a little contraption so when I get hit, it doesn’t really hurt that bad. That’s really all it is. With the pad, it won’t get any worse. It’s just dealing with getting hit and the pain. It’s fine. The wrap makes it hard to breathe when I sit down, so I stand up during timeouts and stuff.”
He continued, “Duke is the best in the business. I just trust in him and kept doing what he was telling me to do. He nursed me back to health.”
THE STORY OF WALK-ON JACOB KURTZ
Sophomore G Jacob Kurtz made his first two baskets of the season on Wednesday, a layup at the hoop and a straight-on three-pointer. After the game, Donovan addressed how he felt about getting Kurtz in the game and told the story of how he wound up being a member of the team.
“I love it for all those guys. Jake’s such a great kid. Sometimes he’s in practice. Sometimes he’s not. For him to be able to get in the game and score a couple baskets [is great]. I’m gonna tell you what: He’s one of the smartest guys on our team in terms of understanding what we’re doing. I love having him as part of the team. I love being around him. A lot of people don’t realize this about him. … He sat upstairs and watched practice every single day in the balcony. Just wanted to watch as a student. Then he kind of started to help out as a manager, just doing stuff every day. [He] never bothered anybody, never complained, never said a word. Just came in every day and helped out anyway he could – laundry, whatever. Then he asked about trying to go down there and play if we were shorthanded. We threw this guy in there and said, ‘Jeez, he’s not too bad.’ That’s really what happened. I give him a tremendous amount of credit because he’s a very bright kid but he’s also very driven and he goes about it in a very respectful way. When you’re around someone like that, you want to go out of your way to try to help him realize different things that he’d like to accomplish in his life. I’ve never seen, ever since I’ve been a coach, a college student want to sit in practice and sit there every single day from start there to finish. I’d look up there, he’d be up there. I’m like, ‘Why is this guy up here?’ ‘Coach, he just wants to watch practice. He just wants to be a part. He just wants to sit there.’ He’s a great kid. So to get in the game, I was happy for him.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on Rosario’s night and how he has improved as an all-around player: “ I’ve been on him really hard. When you look at him, he goes 1-for-9 against Kansas State and he takes completely bizarre shots and makes bizarre plays. He then comes back these last two games and he really has made some incredible plays. When our team averages a lot of assists, it’s primarily because of him because of him. He’s got unbelievable vision. He’s one of the better guards I’ve ever coached in terms of being able to pass the ball and make plays. I’m trying to get him to understand [what it means to make high-percentage passes]. I think he’s starting to see more of that because he’s playing more. … But when he’s going like 1-for-9 and he’s got one assist and four turnovers, it’s totally disruptive to our offense. It just is. He’s too good of a player, he’s too smart and he’s got too good of vision to [not play smart].”
» Rosario on dominating Georgia and what it means going forward: “We’re definitely going to be seeing those guys again on the road at their place and last year when we went there…it wasn’t a good look.”
» Prather on starting the game with a personal 6-0 run and ending it with a dunk: “It was just a good feeling because the crowd was into it. I saw my teammates jumping around. It was just a great energy boost for the team.”