11/14: Florida vs. Wisconsin post-game report

No. 10/10 Florida Gators basketball (2-0) dominated the No. 20/22 Wisconsin Badgers (1-1) behind a strong performance by senior forward Erik Murphy at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.

POST-GAME LOCKER ROOM CELEBRATION

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is now 2-1 all-time against Wisconsin. UF will play UW in the second game of a home-and-home series in Madison, WI next season.
» The Gators are 27-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Florida is 1-0 vs. top-25 opponents this season after being 3-5 against those teams one year ago. Wisconsin was the first of seven top-25 opponents on the schedule.
» The Badgers are known as a great road team over the last 12 years but are now just 2-6 in that span in non-conference road games vs. top-25 teams.
» The Gators had just nine assists on 26 made baskets and turned the ball over an astounding 20 times while forcing just 10 from their opponent.
» Florida shot 75 percent from the floor and 60 percent from downtown in the first half.
» The Gators won the rebounding margin 40-21.

PLAYER NOTES

» Murphy matched a career-high with 24 points and did so on perfect 10-of-10 shooting. He was also 2-for-2 both from downtown and the charity stripe and completed his great line with a steal, a block and just one turnover.
» Redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario hit five of his first seven shots and was second for Florida in scoring with 15 points. He added four boards and four assists but also coughed up four turnovers though his defense was much-improved.
» Rosario and senior G Kenny Boynton barely left the court, playing 37 and 39 minutes, respectively. Boynton had a tough shooting night scoring just 10 points on 1-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc but added six rebounds and three dimes.
» Freshman G Michael Frazier was the only bench player to see more than five minutes of action and made the most of it, scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting (2-for-2 from three) for eight points to go along with five boards.

INJURY / ABSENCE UPDATES

Junior G/F Casey Prather (concussions) had an MRI on Wednesday and learned that it came back negative, indicating that there are no further problems. As soon as his concussion symptoms are gone, he will be eased back into practice.

Suspended junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin has yet to learn when his time away from the court will end. Donovan said he will “probably have an answer” to that question on Thursday afternoon.

Read the rest of what Donovan had to say…after the break!

MURPHY’S BIG NIGHT

A career night for Murphy came just as he was getting over what Donovan referred to Tuesday as an illness. Murphy clarified that after the game, noting that he was relatively OK after having some headaches and nausea on Monday. “I had a migraine on Monday. I get them sometimes; I get them occasionally. It’s not a common thing. I had one Monday, that’s all it was. I couldn’t practice for a little bit, my head was just hurting, so I took the day off, laid my head down and tried to get some rest,” he said.

Donovan said he was impressed with how Murphy played, especially in the post, where the Gators have made a concerted effort to get him the ball.

“We’ve spent some time with Erik just trying to put him in situations where teams try to switch different people on him, putting him in areas of the floor where can take advantage of a smaller guy on him. A year ago, he had a hard time with that; this year, I think he’s gotten better,” he said. “[The Badgers] clearly wanted to take away his catch-and-shoot three-point shots. Any time he was in screen-and-roll, they switched on him. Sometimes we forced it to him but other times we got it back to him, and it was a problem because he’s got such size over a guard he can shoot over him. That’s the one dimension I’ve told Erik that I think he’s needed to add to his game, is being able to go inside and catch the ball against a small person and score. [Wednesday night], he really did a great job of that.”

ROSARIO PUTTING IT TOGETHER

It has been tough for Rosario to earn back the trust of Donovan after losing it early and often during the 2011-12 season. Exaggerating injuries, being careless with the ball and not following his coach’s instructions earned Rosario a seat in the dog house last year. “I’ve not been frustrated coaching him; actually, I’ve really enjoyed coaching him. I’ve just been disappointed because I felt last year he provided nothing for our team because he was never responsible, never accountable and wasn’t reliable,” said Donovan Wednesday, noting that things have really turned around this season.

“I love dealing with him because it’s complete confrontation and it’s chaotic. It’s great with him because he finally knows you’re not getting your way. That totally last year sent him into a tailspin [because] he’s not getting his way – because you’re not,” he said. “I really have enjoyed coaching him. I like Mike. He’s a good kid. He’s a great teammate. He’s about the guys. He’s touchy-feely kind of guy – he high-fives, he hugs, he cares for the guys on his team. But he’s one of those guys where you kind of give him an inch and he’s trying to take an inch to a yard and then a yard to, before you know it he’s all… It’s a battle every day , but I think I’ve got him to a place because collectively the two of us have understood that [these are] the things he needs to do and here’s how he needs to act and here’s how he needs to be to help our team.”

Rosario made his share of mistakes Wednesday in the form of four turnovers and some rushed shots, but Donovan noticed a concerted effort to stop doing those things when he pointed them out during the game.

“He played good, I thought. That was some of the things I talked a little bit about. He makes some wacky plays sometimes that just drive me nuts, but overall he really in the first half played well offensively. I think he’s focused. I think he’s bought in. I think he’s trying to do all the things I’m asking him to do,” Donovan said. “Unlike a year ago, when you corrected him, he had all the answers and solutions to everything – the world, politics, what’s going on – all the solutions. Right now he’s actually listening. He’s coachable. I think he’s in a good place right now. I’m proud of him. … He’s earned the opportunity to be on the floor right now, and I was happy to see him play like he did today.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on the bad position he put Boynton in by playing him so long: “I thought Kenny Boynton, I put him in a difficult situation from this standpoint: He played way too many minutes, I asked him to pressure the ball and full-court press and he and Yeguete were responsible for most of the trapping. I exhausted him in the game, didn’t sub for him, and I just told him I thought needed to get the game going up-and-down. I just didn’t want to let Wisconsin come down and set-up offense or run offense. I thought I put Kenny in a difficult situation because he had to run our team, he had to press, he had to trap in the backcourt, he had to sprint back. There were a lot of things I asked him to do that I thought were challenging to him without really being able to substitute for him.”

» Donovan on the short bench: “The thing I was most proud about with our guys tonight was, we turned it over too much, but I probably kept Boynton on the floor too long and I probably kept Rosario on the floor too long. Those guys really fought through not having so-to-speak a normal rotation out there and really did a good job. I want to look at some of the film. Some of those turnovers could have been from guys being out there too many minutes. […] I told those guys they have no choice. I just said, ‘Listen, you have to fight through this right now.’ Really I used our freshmen in some situations to kind of spell those guys and give them a blow.”

» Donovan on the 20 turnovers: “When we tried to force things and tried to rush things and tried to score too quickly, that’s generally where we got in some difficulty. I think those guys tried to correct the problem a little bit [in the second half].”

» Donovan on being ready to play Wisconsin: “Playing Virginia in the NCAA Tournament last year, playing Georgetown on the ship helped us prepare for this game. When teams like Wisconsin, the way they play defense and how sound and effective they are, when there’s a lot of ball movement and player movement … what ends up happening is, through all that movement, it kind of breaks down their defense. We scored 74 points, turned it over 20 times and only made six threes. This wasn’t one of those games where you look down and say, ‘Wow, Florida was 15-of-30 from the three-point line. They bombed them in.’ We didn’t. We were good driving the ball, attacking the paint, getting to the rim, getting to the free throw line. Our offense was run at the basket and in the paint, which is what we really talked about trying to do.”

» Donovan on ensuring junior center Patric Young gets more touches on offense: “We got to do a better job – I got to do a better job – in practice, we got to work on that. There are times where Patric has great post position and we Rae not getting him the ball. And then when we do throw it, we turn it over. Patric tonight did not get enough shots, in my opinion. He should have had more. I thought we missed him way too much. I think a lot of our turnovers came from trying to force feed him or make post feeds that weren’t there. We got to do a better job.”

» Rosario on Murphy’s performance: “It’s amazing. Anybody would like to go 10-for-10 from the field. I just feel like Murph has been putting in a lot of work. Murph been working on his shot after practice, staying in the gym, staying after, and it all pays off.”

» Junior F Will Yeguete on his offensive improvement through four games (two exhibition): “I just want to improve. I just want to get better through the summer from last year. I was just trying to improve my game. I’m still learning; I’m still working on it. I feel like I’ve done a better job offensively so far, but I have to keep working on it to get better.”

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