Florida vs. Jackson State post-game notes

By Adam Silverstein
November 14, 2011

The No. 8/10 Florida Gators opened the 2011-12 regular season by soundly defeating the Jackson State Tigers Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and some Florida players discussed the contest as well as their outlook for the upcoming season.

NEW GUARDS ADJUSTING NICELY

Freshman Brad Beal and redshirt junior transfer Mike Rosario were outstanding in the opener, combining for 38 points and hitting 8-of-14 shots from beyond the arc. The duo was also quite effective on Friday. Rosario (and junior Kenny Boynton) led all scorers with 19 points (5-of-8 from downtown), while Beal added 14 on 10 shots but was just 1-for-6 from three.

“The ball went in the basket for him,” Donovan said of Rosario. “The one thing I talk to those guys about is just that there’s so much more to the game than that. Mike made some shots tonight. He did some things that helped our team where maybe two of our better shooters from behind the three-point line didn’t have it going. Offensively there’s some firepower out there with our team as it relates to shooting the basketball. If we can get stops and out in transition, we can really get it going.”

He also said that Beal’s ability to score even when his shot is not falling is something special the team can take full advantage of this year. “The thing that makes him a great player is that he’s not a high-volume shooter. He scores very quietly and is very efficient when he scores. He had great looks,” Donovan said. “He scores 14 points and 10 at the half, and he’s 5-for-10 and probably in the realm of the way he thinks, 1-for-6 from the three-point line is unacceptable. On 10 shots, he’s very capable of getting 20 points pretty quickly because he’s very efficient scoring.”

Beal simplified it a bit, noting that the large scoring numbers are something fans can expect as the season continues to go on even against better defenses. “We were just playing Florida basketball basically,” he said.

WALKER’s IMPACT NOT SHOWING UP IN BOX SCORE
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Senior point guard Erving Walker’s final line may have only been 10 points and four assists, but Donovan believed he played exactly the way he was asked all offseason. Donovan has gone out of his way to say that his plan for Walker this year is for the player to become the SEC’s regular season assist leader who is more concerned about making sure Florida gets open looks than knocking down baskets himself.

On Friday, Walker not only shot efficiently (4-of-6 from the field, 1-for-2 from downtown), he also had a 4-0 assist-to-turnover ratio, grabbed a steal and hustled for four boards. Donovan said the way he effected the game is much deeper than that, too.

“Erving Walker is a special player. He’s special. He does a lot of different things. The thing that’s not even talked about today – I’m really proud of him. He was 4-for-6 today, pretty efficient, four assists and no turnovers,” he said. “In hockey the guy that throws it to the guy that gets an assist also gets an assist. How many times did Erving Walker drive down the lane and kick the ball out to an open guy and that guy threw it to the guy who shot the ball but Erving Walker was the one that created the play?

“When you play that way from a media standpoint there is not a lot of recognition that comes with playing that way. People that really understand the magnitude of what you’re doing, they can see it. There was a lot of examples of Erving having four assists and he probably could have had 15 if there were hockey assists being counted. He made some passes and some plays that led to a lot of open shots for our team.”

REBOUNDING MUST REMAIN A POSITIVE

After only out-rebounding Catholic by five in their exhibitioner, UF grabbed 15 more boards than Jackson State did Friday (40-25). Donovan said after the game that a margin like that is exactly what the Gators should have against such competition.

“That’s kind of the expectation level I have for our guys,” he said. “Overall I thought our guys competed on the backboard. I thought we did a good job there.”

One player Donovan was looking for more from was junior forward Erik Murphy, who grabbed just four boards because a handful of others were bobbled underneath the basket. Donovan thought he could have had a big rebounding game if he had just been able to hang on to a few more.

Florida also acquired 23 offensive rebounds which provided the high-powered offense additional opportunities to put the ball in the basket. Donovan said that number was “encouraging” as was the way the Gators came out of halftime – on a 15-0 run that resulted in a 51-point lead. “Hopefully it’s something where they can develop that kind of mentality,” he said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on the team’s shooting: “When the floor is spaced like it is, there’s so much shooting out there that Mike just happened to be on the receiving end on knocking down a lot of shots. I also thought that Brad and Murph had a lot of shots they normally could have knocked down.”

» Donovan on playing Ohio State on Tuesday: “This is a great test for our team. It’s a great challenge. Obviously they’re ranked extremely high and playing at home. Hopefully our guys are ready to take this challenge on. I’m excited about it for our guys, and I think our guys are excited about it. Any time you get a chance to play against the best, that’s what you want to do and find out where you’re at.”

» Boynton on the victory: “We’re right where we want to be. We got to clean up a little bit of rebounding but other than that we are where we want to be for Ohio State.”

» Rosario on playing well in his first game: “It was tough but every last bit of it is worth everything today. Everything that I’ve been through since I’ve got here made tonight unbelievable.”

» Sophomore center Patric Young on facing Jared Sullinger on Tuesday: “It’s going to be a team effort. I’m not going to be guarding him the entire game, so I’m just going to do the best I can.”[/EXPAND]

One Comment

  1. Fernzpat says:

    Can’t wait to face Ohio State! We will have a real idea if this 3-4 guard set can work for us in the next two weeks…

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