3/12: Donovan discusses semifinals victory

The No. 12/12 Florida Gators (26-6) advanced to the championship game of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon with a 77-66 win over the No. 24 Vanderbilt Commodores at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. Florida head coach Billy Donovan and his players had plenty to say after the game as they prepared to face No. 16 for the third time this season. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the post-game press conference.

LOCKER ROOM VIDEO and SOUND BITES

QUOTES

Donovan on the team’s performance in the first half: “Physically at the basket, we didn’t get a lot done. We could have been down a lot more at the half.”

Donovan on guarding Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins: “Our team, collectively, did about as good of a job as you can do on Jenkins. Kenny did a great job on him. When the ball leaves his hands, it always has a chance to go in.”

Donovan on the fearlessness of sophomore G Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker: “I have a lot of confidence in those guys because there’s a high-level of accountability I put on those guys on the defensive end of the floor. When Boynton’s doing what he’s doing defensively at the other end of the floor, and he’s working the way he’s working, I’m going to let him take a couple because he can get going. You’re going to live with it because he’s doing a heck of a job at the other end of the floor defensively. The same thing with Erving. Erving’s a smart guy. He understands scouting; he understands schemes. They’re both highly competitive, winning kind of guys. They can make winning plays for you – on offense and/or defense.”

Donovan on turning the ball over a lot early: “They understood the importance of taking care of the basketball. It was pretty clear half of their points in the first half came off of our carelessness.”

Walker on assessing how he played in the first half vs. the second half: “I didn’t play bad, but I wasn’t great. I just tried to be patient and Taylor was on my back the whole game. My teammates found me for some good looks, and I was able to get in a little bit of a rhythm.”

Walker on he and Boynton shooting with confidence: “We’re just two players that play with a lot of confidence. It always helps when your coach don’t yank you if you miss one. [Laughing] He’s been real generous to us. And we just got to keep shooting with confidence.”

Walker on scoring nine-straight points: “It started on the defensive end. We were able to get out in transition. Vanderbilt’s defense is real tough, and I was able to get some clean looks out of transition – and some layups. Defense sparked it all for us.”

Walker on starting slow: “In the first half, we have a bad habit of waiting to see how hard we have to play. We have to get out of that.”

Boynton on beating two teams three times in a single season: “It’s a great accomplishment for us. The key to these games was our focus to get one win and move on to the next. We had a problem with that – winning big games and then losing to other teams. Lately we’ve been doing well.”

Boynton on why his scoring is up: “Just confidence. [My] confidence level. I’m taking good shots, not forcing anything. When I get in a rhythm, they just fall.”

Boynton on having the confidence to take big shots: “Coach has a great amount of confidence for us, for him to give us that freedom. We love to take those shots. He gives us the freedom to take those shots because he knows that we can make them and we can go on runs.”

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