2/1: Donovan on Florida’s fight and survival

By Adam Silverstein
February 3, 2011

No. 23 Florida Gators (17-5, 6-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability after Tuesday’s hard-fought 65-61 overtime win against the No. 24 Vanderbilt Commodores (15-6, 3-4 SEC).

12 13 ROUNDS

If you thought Florida looked punch-drunk following their double overtime defeat of Georgia on Jan. 25, Donovan believes that was nothing compared to the physical effort the team had to put forth to defeat Vanderbilt in overtime on Tuesday.

“That was by far the most physical game we have played all year long. In a lot of ways, I felt terrible for the officials because it was a very, very difficult game to officiate,” he said. “The game was as well officiated as it could have been with all the contact. It was a hard game.”

Many fans on both sides might disagree with Donovan’s praise of the officiating, noting that the Gators were abused most of the game and the Commodores were dealt a blow by not having a foul called on sophomore guard Kenny Boynton on a three-pointer from G John Jenkins near the end of the contest. Commenting on the missed foul, Donovan said it was just part of the game.

“Yeah, you know what, and it was probably about 25 fouls by us and them throughout the game. I didn’t get a clear look on it. I don’t know if he did or didn’t,” he said. “To me, if that foul would have been called, that would have been very, very disappointing with all the contact that was going on.”

How much contact was there? “It reminded me of the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks back in the day with [Jeff] Van Gundy and Pat Riley and Alonzo Mourning and fist fights,” Donovan quipped.

SURVIVING A “LATE COLLAPSE”

Florida once again squandered an opportunity to win a close game in regulation, something Donovan chalks up to the game of basketball in general and not the Gators’ ability to handle a lead late in a game.

“I don’t look at it as a late collapse. There [are] good teams out there with good players,” he said. “We got a pretty resilient group. They try to battle back and they fight.”

With that being said, Donovan points out that Florida has improved in these types of situations compared to how they would have handled them the last two seasons.

“Two years ago, in a game like this, I think we would have had a hard time winning the game. We’re getting better in these kinds of games,” he said.

“I think our guys have grown up, in particular our older guys. They don’t have it figured out. They probably think they do, but I can tell you right now they don’t. We’ve gotten better responding to the things that you need to respond to [in order] to put yourself in a position to win the game.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on junior point guard Erving Walker’s final shot in regulation: “We tried to create a switching situation for Walker, and he got [Rod] Odom on him, which is what we wanted. Erving should have tried to drive the ball around him to create something to the rim, but he settled for a jumper.”

Donovan on Boynton’s contributions: “A big play in the game was Boynton’s three out of the corner, and then he did a great job defensively [by making] Jenkins take a tough three-point shot. […]Boynton did as good of a job as you can do on him.”

Donovan on the SEC West: “There’s this perception that the [SEC] West’s not very good, and I really, really disagree with that. I think, going into the year, there was not enough respect given [to them].”

Senior forward Chandler Parsons on hitting two key free throws: “That was for all you guys hating on me all year saying I can’t hit free throws. [Laughing] Like I’ve been telling you guys from the beginning, it’s between my ears. I just need to be a man, go up there and put the ball in the whole. Individually and collectively as a team, I think we need to concentrate more on free throws. I think we did a better job of that tonight.”

Walker on his buzzer-beater to end the first half: “Chandler found me, and I was able to get it up.”

Walker on the team’s shooting droughts: “Maybe legs, but we got good looks. The looks wasn’t the problem. We definitely got good looks and was happy with that, but we just have to convert them.”

Boynton on his best shots: “I like the catch-and-shoot. The shots I did miss, I think they were contested, and the shots that I made were open.”

Boynton on Walker’s final shot to end regulation: “Erving’s a point guard, so everything’s in his hands. It’s up to Erving, whatever call he wants to make.”

Boynton on overcoming late collapses: “Tough team. That shows we’re a tough team. We’ve been in this situation many times. I think that just shows we’re a tough team and we can battle back.”

Boynton on if he fouled Jenkins: “I hit him on the body, but I think there were missed calls both ways. They missed a lot of calls both ways; it’s a part of the game.”

One Comment

  1. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    This team is quietly putting together a good season….6-2 half way through the SEC is good and 5-3 in the final 8 probably wins the East…they are winning ugly but the thing you like is they are winning in different ways and they are tougher than any team we have had since the 04’s left…Young is getting better and he gives us a presence we have been missing on the Defensive side of the ball

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