1/22: Donovan disucsses bounce back victory

By Adam Silverstein
January 24, 2011

The Florida Gators (15-4, 4-1 SEC) put together arguably their most complete game of the season Saturday in a dominating 75-43 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks (12-6, 2-3 SEC) just two days after escaping a potentially resume-killing loss in a close 45-40 win on the road against Auburn. Head coach Billy Donovan and a few players spoke to the media after Saturday night’s game.

STRONG PERFORMANCE FROM START-TO-FINISH

For every disappointing showing that Florida has put forth this season, they have seemed to match it with an impressive performance. The juxtaposition between Thursday’s nail-biting win and Saturday’s rout could not have been greater.

“From start-to-finish, it was a real complete game for us. We’ve had some games where we’ve had some double-digit leads going into the half and we haven’t come out and handled it always the best. Our guys really did [that] in the second half,” Donovan recounted. “There was a limited amount of physical work we did, but there was a lot of mental work. Larry Shyatt, he scouted the game, I thought he really did a terrific job. There’s a fine line, when you have a one-day prep day, you can overload your guys mentally. […] He just tried to simplify it.”

He also spoke about what it took for the Gators to rebound from what was no doubt a depressing performance on the road. “Tonight was a display of their resiliency. I love that about those guys,” Donovan said. “But there’s times where I want to see more fire, more passion, more energy, more excitement, enthusiasm when the game is not going their way. I’d like to see a little bit more of that.”

VICTORY HAS A GREATER LONG-TERM SIGNIFICANCE

Aside from proving that Florida is resilient at times, Saturday’s game also showed that the Gators are able to forget about negatives and move forward as a team. Donovan, still shell-shocked by his team’s performance Thursday, explained it thoroughly.

“It was important because I thought our guys, mentally coming out of the Auburn game, had never ever been through anything like that before. I had never been through anything like that before,” he said. “I mean we shot 27 percent from the field and 19 percent from the three-point line and we scored 45 points in a game against a team that’s 0-4 [in the SEC] at the time and 7-10 in the league. And that’s not any disrespect to Auburn. When you have a game like that, I think it was important how we responded on a one-day turnaround. That’s what I was more concerned about.”

UF handled that turnaround quite well it seems, but Donovan remains concerned whether or not Florida can keep up the momentum once again on such short rest. “The goal is – we play this well tonight – can we come back on Tuesday and play better than we did today? That’s the challenge you try to get across to them,” he said. “[You try] to get them to say, ‘OK, we need to try to get better.’”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on who stood out for him on the court: “We did a lot of things very well. [Kenny] Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin did a great job on Rotnei Clarke. Not only did we limit his shot attempts, we made it difficult for him to even get the ball. Chandler [Parsons] had a terrific game in terms of he made the game easy for a lot of guys on our team. I was really, really proud of Casey Prather because I felt like, coming into the half, we needed some energy in the second half. Casey gave us a great lift off the bench.”

Donovan on establishing a post presence early being a key to his team’s success: “We try to establish Vernon [Macklin] and Alex [Tyus] every game. One of the things that Alex and Vernon need to do, when they catch the ball and the ball doesn’t go into the basket on their first two or three attempts, they can’t not continue to play. It’s great and easy to play when the ball’s going into the basket. But what about when you’re getting your shots and the ball doesn’t go in the basket? Can you still show up and play? Because that’s what happened against South Carolina. They got their touches early and didn’t score. To me, there’s a level of maturity that I think those guys need to play with in our frontcourt. That’s a step for them that they need to take.”

Donovan on wanting to use his bench more: “When you have these games when you’re playing Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday, you have to utilize your bench. Erving Walker, he had great, great looks during the second half. Every shot was [short]. No question it was fatigue. Shots didn’t go down but he defended and did some other things for us.”

Parsons on his team’s performance being their best all season: “By far. They’re no slouch. Arkansas is a good team. We came out, after getting a big lead in the first half, and really showed some maturity, kept going in the second half and had no let-ups.”

Parsons on establishing a post presence: “That’s our strategy every game. To get those guys established down there. Those are great scorers, so we definitely want to get them to the ball down there.”

2 Comments

  1. joe says:

    Don’t let anybody kid you this was as much about Ark hung over from their OT loss to USCe as much as it is about Fl finding it’s groove. The test will be Tues.

  2. Wingtee says:

    UGA is extremely talented. Wow this talent almost happened over night. Fox
    is doing a heck of a job up there.if
    BS ever decides
    to hang it up I will take
    this guy in a heartbeat

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