The No. 9/10 Florida Gators defeated the Wright State Raiders 78-65 in a neutral site game to close the Global Sports Shootout Monday night in Tampa, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan provided his thoughts on the contest his team just played.
FAILING TO CAPITALIZE AND RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITIES
Florida had numerous opportunities to step on the collective throats of Wright State on Monday but never did so, allowing their game-high 16-point lead to be reduced to single digits before pulling it back up and closing out the game. Donovan said that, going forward, the Gators are going to have to change their mentality and recognize some opportunities they have in certain matchups.
“Believe me, I’m all for the three-point shot, but our team awareness of what has [gone on during the game is poor],” he said. Donovan wants Florida to put the ball on the floor more when the three isn’t following and, when up double-digits, add to it with high-percentage shots and free throws rather than taking long ones from downtown.
Speaking of free throws, Donovan noted that the Gators were in the bonus/double bonus early in each half, but UF failed to capitalize on either opportunity.
“There was not really an understanding of how do we put this team away,” he said. “Part of the way we needed to do that was understanding that we were shooting the double bonus with about 12 minutes to go. Getting stops in key situations, not fouling in key situations, not breaking down like we did. We could have put the team away.”
Though not as big of an issue as the past few games, Florida’s foul shooting (20-of-30, 66.7 percent) remains a bit of a concern. “It’s something we’re going to get better at. I think we have a chance to be a good free throw shooting team; we just haven’t showed it up to this point in time. Certainly 67 percent is a lot better than 55, so maybe we’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan said that sophomore center Patric Young had “pretty significant blurred vision in the locker room” after being poked in the eye late in the first half. The doctors cleared him to play once his vision was 100 percent clear, which happened approximately nine minutes into the second half.
» On freshman guard Brad Beal’s versatility: “Brad was the one guy I thought – he was 1/6 from the three-point line – but you would really have never noticed it with the way he was playing because he had some drives to the basket, he got to the free throw line, he did some different things.”
» On Beal and junior G Kenny Boynton working through shooting woes: “The encouraging thing about some of our three-point shooting now is that Erving [Walker] and Brad Beal did not shoot the ball particularly well from behind the line. Those two guys combined were 2-for-11. Kenny at least making some of those shots has kept him in the game mentally, but he’s got to work himself through when he’s having one of those nights when he’s not shooting it well. Brad did a pretty good job tonight working through that. Going 1-for-5, he worked himself through it. Kenny’s done that.”
» On what he is the most pleased about with Florida: “I can’t tell you there was one thing that I was really pleased with from start to finish. I thought we were ok. I thought we showed signs at rebounding the ball, shooting the ball well. If there’s one thing I would say I was really pleased with – that I maintained a level of pleasure with – I really think they’re trying to move and pass the ball. That part of it I’ve been very pleased with.
» On the team’s chemistry/cohesiveness: “I do think there’s a lot of room for improvement, and I do think we can get better.”
» On redshirt freshman forward Cody Larson’s rough showing: “I put him in a tough spot tonight. It’s more me. He didn’t really get in the first half. I throw him in there with 10-12 minutes. The guy has been sitting on the bench. It’s freezing in there. There’s ice on the floor. Who knows what he’s doing right now? I think he had a heating blanket on and he’s trying to get out there and play. It was not his fault. I noticed that he looked like me running up and down the floor getting out of bed in the morning. That was more my fault. I have confidence in Cody, and I do think he can help us. He can be a good player and a solid player for us.”