No. 7 Florida Gators basketball (6-0) blew out the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-2) in the 2012 SEC/BIG EAST Challenge at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Thursday. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida is now 2-2 all-time against Marquette and 17-10 against Big East teams under Donovan (1-2 in the regular season games played as part of a challenge or invitational).
» The Gators’ defense continues to dominate. UF has only given up 26 or more points in a single have twice in 12 halves played this season.
» Six Florida players scored in double figures, the most this season.
» The Gators are 31-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Marquette reserves were averaging 35 points and 22 rebounds per game; those players registered just 19 points and five boards on Thursday.
» Florida has 16 assists on 28 made baskets and turned the ball over just eight times. UF forced 14 turnovers in the game.
» The Gators won the rebounding margin 37-23 and shot well in all three phases of the game including 50.9 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from downtown and 85.0 percent from the free throw line.
» 20 NBA scouts were in attendance, according to UF.
» Freshman guard Michael Frazier II came off the bench to score a team- and career-high 17 points. He made five treys in eight attempts and was 6-of-9 from the floor.
» Junior center Patric Young came off the bench in both halves but still led the way with a game-high 10 rebounds. He matched a career-best with six offensive boards and finished with a double-double as he posted 10 points.
» Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario, junior forward Will Yeguete and junior F Casey Prather scored 11 points each. Yeguete added seven rebounds and a block while Rosario and Prather combined for six boards and three dimes. Senior F Erik Murphy also chipped in 10 points.
» Senior G Kenny Boynton notched a game-high five assists while only turning the ball over once but struggled to find the bottom of the net. He went 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown to finish with just six points. Boynton also passed Eddie Shannon for sixth all-time on the school’s career minutes list.
» G Vander Blue was the only Marquette player that truly came to play. He scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and was the only one on his team to score more than six points.
Read the rest of what Donovan had to say…after the break!
BENCHED FOR ATTITUDE, YOUNG RESPONDS IN A BIG WAY
For the first time in his career as a regular starter, Young began a game on the bench while perfectly healthy. Donovan made the decision and let it serve as a wake-up call to a player he has said needs to show consistent effort both in practice and games. He was not pleased with how Young carried himself during practice on Wednesday and went with his gut to have him come off the bench.
“Patric, [Wednesday] in particular, he didn’t practice at the level that I thought needed to. I thought in a lot of respects his attitude was not conducive to our team getting better, improving, growing. We were not focused on what we should be focused on in practice,” he said.
“As a coach, when you make a decision like that, [what] I’d hate to have happen is when someone is viewed or painted in a different light of who they are not. Patric Young is a great kid, represents our school in a great way. I feel like my job as a coach is to bring out the best in Patric Young as a player and right now he was not doing that and he was not… It wasn’t even performance. It was more his effort, his attitude, his disruptiveness in practice that caused me to say, you know what, you’re not starting [Thursday]. We’ll see how your attitude is [Thursday].”
Young appeared to be a new man by game time. He gave consistent effort throughout the game, matched a career-high with six offensive rebounds and even came away with the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter for a big block he delivered.
“Our whole team is a family. Even though we get on each other, the coaches really get on us sometimes but they’re doing it out of love and respect,” Young said after the game. “Coming into the game, I just knew I was going to come in and have a great energy for the team, pick up any slack and do the best I can to try and help us out to get this win.”
He also admitted that he was not a model student-athlete on Wednesday but is glad that Donovan was on him to improve rather than frustrated with him all together.
“I just didn’t have a good attitude in practice. Coach wasn’t very happy with my performance. I just didn’t come in and give my best effort. He wants me to be an everyday guy, which I can do, I just have to embrace that role and embrace when he challenges me to be that,” Young said.
“I’ll be upset when he starts ignoring me because that means he doesn’t care anymore. The fact that he is continually on me just means that he sees great things in me in the future. I’m going to take it one day at a time and just trust in him and trust in our staff that they’re going to help me to become the best I can be.”
Donovan relayed those same sentiments after the game.
“I’m hopeful that this situation with Patric will really help him see, if he puts forth the kind of effort that he did tonight on an everyday basis and doesn’t get frustrated or pout or not want to give the effort that is necessary for whatever reason, that he’s only hurting himself and his teammates,” he said. “I give Patric credit. I told him after the game, ‘That’s my expectation level.’ Not that he was a guy that scored 25 points but there’s no reason that he should not have a double-double every night by just playing hard. And if he doesn’t, a lot of times it is because of his effort and his commitment. He needs to understand that, playing here, I’m going to challenge him and force him and squeeze him to do that. If I don’t do that, I’m doing him a disservice because he’s too good of a kid and he’s young and he needs to grow and get better.”
Donovan is also proud of the way Young responded and played on Thursday, noting that he has always been a player that takes criticism well and looks deep down to see how he can improve rather than blaming a coach for getting on him.
“Patric has always responded. When you hit Patric with the truth, and Patric has a day to reflect on himself, he usually responds pretty well. That was good to see,” he said. “When he gets challenged by me to push through things, sometimes it can send him the other way. He’s needs to understand that he’s got to respond to that. He didn’t [Wednesday] respond quite like he needed to respond.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on the dominant performance: “Sometimes a team can have a night like we’ve had. I’m not so sure that we’re 30 points better than Marquette. I really like Marquette’s team. … Their first road game, some guys in some new roles, new positions. I thought our guys played for 40 minutes. Although it was a 14-point lead at the half, our guys responded right away the first four minutes [of the second half]. I thought that was really important, that we extended our lead from 14 to 19 and it continued to grow.”
» Donovan said that Frazier has been putting in a lot of time and effort into getting better and becoming an all-around player. His rebounding from the small forward position has allowed him to stay on the court and play extended minutes as a reserve. “[Frazier is] one of those guys that I really enjoy being around because he’s passionate about the game, passionate about getting better. He puts the time in and puts forth a great effort,” he said.
» Donovan on Florida’s top-notch defense: “The [players] have worked very hard in making a commitment to try and get better there. I do think with certain lineups we have a chance to be really good defensively.”
» Donovan on how Prather has turned himself into a reliable player: “I really thought last year in the NCAA Tournament, in the SEC Tournament, it really was a great shot of confidence and a boost for him. In the offseason I really have tried to spend a lot of time with him in keeping him very confident in his ability. He brings a dimension to our team. The hard thing for Casey is, here we’ve played six games and we’ve been practicing for nearly two months now, the poor guy has been out for three weeks and he’s trying to practice with headgear on. He probably feels like it’s the first time he can see. I have confidence in him and I think the best way for him to have confidence in himself is when he does it in the game.”
» Young on Yeguete frustrating defenses: “I don’t want to say he’s a snake. He has a bunch of tricky things he can do with his body that can frustrate somebody offensively when he’s on defense. I can see how that can really get under somebody’s skin and make them start to lose their focus.”
» Yeguete on Young using the benching as motivation: “I think it was motivating. I think that’s good for him. I think he’s going to use that to get better. It’s going to help our team move on. We’ve been through a lot – six games, a lot of ups and downs and everything. We’ve finally growing more and more every single day and it’s going to help us.”
» Marquette head coach Buzz Williams on the Gators: “I think they are this good. I was saying that before I left Milwaukee. I think they are good enough to win the whole thing.”