3/6: Vanderbilt post-game news and notes

By Adam Silverstein
March 6, 2011

Capturing his first Southeastern Conference regular season title since 2007, No. 14/14 Florida Gators (24-6, 13-3 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan spoke to the media after his team defeated the No. 20 Vanderbilt Commodores 86-76 on the road. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following Florida’s spectacular victory on Saturday.

BOYNTON HEATING UP; WALKER COOLING OFF

Don’t look now, but sophomore guard Kenny Boynton appears to be heating up at just the right time. Suffering through a shooting slump most of the season (even though he took enough shots to post double-digit points most nights), Boynton has hit 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from the field and 50 percent (13-for-26) of his attempts from beyond the arc over the last three games including a number of clutch threes that have started, extended or concluded major runs. He was 4-for-9 from three on Saturday and hit a trio of triples (including one four-point play) in 98 seconds in the middle of the second half.

Boynton’s success has allowed some to overlook the lack of offensive production from junior point guard Erving Walker over the same stretch. Walker is shooting only 27.6 percent (8-for-29) from the floor over the last three games and 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from downtown over the last four. Either instead of or because of his poor shooting, Walker has been concentrating on dishing the ball like many have hoped he would do over the last two seasons. He has 13 assists combined over the last two games and hit 10-of-11 shots from the charity stripe Saturday to help ice the game for Florida.

TYUS FINALLY STEPPING UP

Though senior forward Alex Tyus has had what he would certainly agree is a disappointing season overall, his effort over the last two games has been exemplary. He has faced some defensive struggles but nearly posted back-to-back double doubles against Alabama and Vanderbilt, falling one rebound shy of the effort in the former game. Tyus posted 13 points and 10 boards Saturday including seven big offensive rebounds. He had 12 points and nine boards Tuesday and combined to go 9-for-16 from the field in both games. With redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and freshman C Patric Young each playing quite well in the post, Tyus’s resurgence could give the Gators a formidable rotation down low going forward.

FLORIDA’s RESILIENCY THEIR GREATEST ASSET

Since coming back from injury, senior F Chandler Parsons has combined for 63 points and 34 rebounds over the last four games. That’s toughness. Florida has also won back-to-back Southeastern Conference title-clinching contests after falling on the road at Kentucky last week. That’s resiliency. Both are characteristics Donovan sees as prevalent in the Gators this year; he has also been preaching to the team recently that these are two of the main reasons they have been successful this season.

“Because failure is out there so much, when you don’t get the results you want, you identify what the problem is and you work hard to correct the problem,” he said after Saturday’s game. “A lot of times when you’re successful, you don’t look at why you’re successful, you’re too busy spending time living in and enjoying the success.

“I’ve talked to these guys about why they’ve been successful this year and that they can’t lose sight of that. It’s OK to celebrate and enjoy it, but they really need to understand why they’ve been a good team.”

2011 SEC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULING

The 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament begins March 10, but Florida automatically advances to the quarterfinals as a No. 1 seed and will face the winner of Tennessee vs. Arkansas on March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Should they win that game, they will square-off against either Mississippi State, Vanderbilt or LSU in semifinals action. Check out the full bracket below (click to expand in new window).

3 Comments

  1. npgator says:

    That was another great win! This team is riding on all cylinders at the right time.

  2. CH says:

    Tough bracket. UF could really use a couple of wins to get at #3 seed in the NCAA’s.

  3. chigator says:

    I just want to point out how happy I am that Donovan has brought the program back after the whole Orlando Magic situation. I know the basketball team doesn’t get the support it deserves like the football team, at times, but Donovan really is the gold standard. He runs a clean program that wins the right way. To think that he is only 45! Many more years of coaching left. I hope that Muschamp can carboncopy Donovan’s success.

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