No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball (12-2, 2-0 SEC) routed the LSU Tigers (9-4, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, LA. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is now 41-60 all-time against LSU (12-8 under Donovan). The Gators hold a 13-33 all-time record against the Tigers in Baton Rouge (5-4 under Donovan).
» UF has won four-straight games in the series against LSU.
» The Gators have now held 9-of-14 opponents under 60 points.
» Florida outshot their hosts from the field (.444-.323), from three (.348-.250) and from the charity stripe (.588-.400) and made seven more baskets on two fewer shots.
» The Gators won the rebounding battle 49-34 but gave up four more turnovers (11-7) over the course of the game.
» Senior guard Kenny Boynton continued working his way up the school’s all-time record book, passing Erving Walker (1,777 points) and Udonis Haslem (1,781) to move into third on Florida’s career scoring list with 1,782 career points as he posted a team-high 20 on Saturday. He is 148 points away from tying Andrew Moten (1,930) for second and has 308 more points to score until he is even with Ronnie Williams (2,090) for first in scoring.
» Junior forward Will Yeguete registered the third double-double of his career (second of the season) with a team-high 13 rebounds and 10 points. He is working through knee tendinitis and made a difference for the Gators in the second half.
» Four Florida players registered seven boards on the evening including freshman G Michael Frazier II, who hit a career-high with that mark. Frazier also played a career-high 31 minutes in the contest but finished with just five points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Read what Donovan had to say on injuries and more…after the break!
FLORIDA BASKETBALL – MASH UNIT
To say the Gators are dealing with some nagging injures would be an understatement. Heading into Saturday’s game, Yeguete (knee), senior F Erik Murphy (rib) and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (finger) were all dinged up but active. Additionally, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario (ankle) was a surprise scratch after a sprain he suffered Wednesday acted up and limited him enough that he was unable to suit up.
Donovan said after the contest that Rosario, who had his ankle re-taped before returning to the Georgia game, was fine afterward but saw his ankle get swollen and bruised Thursday morning. He did light running and cutting on Friday and made the trip to Baton Rouge but could not get on the court. “I don’t know when he’ll be back. I don’t think it’s an injury that should keep him out too long,” Donovan said.
The Gainesville Sun‘s Kevin Brockway spoke with trainer Dave “Duke” Werner after the game. He relayed that Rosario’s ankle sprain should not keep him out of the team’s next contest against Texas A&M on Thursday.
The Gators added another member to the MASH unit on Saturday after junior G/F Casey Prather was forced to leave the game when he came down awkwardly on his foot after a shot clock violation-saving rebound and layup. Werner told Brockway that Prather would likely be out some time with early indications potentially pointing to a high-ankle sprain.
“The good news is it’s not a break. That’s what I first was told that they thought it was a break,” Donovan said. “They took him for X-rays and it turned out to be negative. The doctor here at LSU thinks it may be a high-ankle sprain. I don’t know if it is. I saw a little bit of the highlight when I was out there doing TV. I didn’t see him roll his ankle. He just kind of came down on it funny. I don’t know really what it is. … Our trainer said there has not been much swelling it in right now. It could be he’s OK or it could be he’s out for a couple week s or he’s out for a few days. I have no idea yet.”
The last thing Florida needed before a pair of tough contests next week was yet another contributing player to go down injured. Unfortunately for the Gators, the team will have to continue fighting with a reduced lineup for the time being.
SPACING ISSUES NEARLY DOOMED GATORS
Fans that watched Florida extend its lead to 25 points early in the second half probably thought the Gators were getting ready to put the game way. Instead, LSU began pressing and UF turned the ball over three times in a matter of seconds. The Tigers took advantage of those miscues and went on an impressive 12-0 run to cut their deficit down to 13 and get right back in the game with more than though time left on the clock.
Before explaining exactly what Florida did wrong in that situation, Donovan explained why the Gators were able to be taken advantage of in that particular circumstance.
“We exerted so much energy to get the lead to 25. Boynton was gassed. … I thought [Young] was getting tired. I thought Scottie was getting tired. … We didn’t have obviously the same level of depth that they had. I thought it was a great, gusty performance by our guys finding a way to win,” he said.
Now…back to the concerning part where Florida once again crumbled under some defensive pressure. Lucky for the Gators, this time their lead was so staggering that they were able to recover, unlike what happened at Arizona when Florida folded under the pressure and dropped the game.
Donovan noted that the Gators did not struggle inbounding the ball (like they did against the Wildcats) but rather had spacing issues that allowed the Tigers to get some turnovers even after the ball successfully moved past half court.
“The Arizona game we obviously had a difficult time getting the ball inbounds. [Saturday] I thought we did a very good job of getting it in bounds. What happened is, when the ball started to move, there are guys that are not involved in the play that have to get themselves involved in the play spacing-wise,” he said. “For our team, we’ve got to do a better job spacing-wise of flashing to the middle of the floor, catching it, facing up and doing those kinds of things.
“One of the mistakes we made in the game was we broke the press. We broke the press but our guys kept picking the ball up across half court thinking they’re going to drop back. I said to them, ‘It’s not our press. It’s LSU’s press. They’re going to keep trapping. You got to keep playing.’ … They’re forcing you to play. You just can’t get the ball across half court and hold it and then try to bring it back out. We did a much, much better job from the Arizona game. We just didn’t do a great job from half court attacking the basket. I thought we did a better job later in the game.”
Most importantly, Donovan saw a resolve from Florida that he has been searching for over the last two months.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on losing Prather near the end of the first half: “I just told those guys at halftime, ‘Listen, Casey’s not coming back in. We’re basically down to six guys right now.’ I told our freshmen, ‘A couple of you guys are going to have to get thrown in here and you’re going to have to help.’”
» Boynton on passing Walker and Haslem on the all-time scoring list (via The Gainesville Sun): “Passing Erv, we went through a lot together, and Udonis Haslem is a great player. It definitely means a lot. But I’m more happy we got the win.”
» Boynton on overcoming his shooting slump: “I put those games behind me. … I think it was more mental than anything. I’m just trying to be the best help I can to my team whether it’s scoring or defensive effort.”