The No. 12 Florida Gators beat up on the Rider Broncs 90-69 on Friday evening in a neutral site game played in Jacksonville, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan his thoughts on the win and the team’s upcoming break.
WALKER, BOYNTON PLAYING TO THEIR STRENGTHS
Having received plenty of criticism throughout their Gators careers, senior point guard Erving Walker and junior guard Kenny Boynton played exactly how Florida fans (and Donovan) have always wanted them to on Friday. Walker – rather than over-penetrating, forcing three-pointers and turning the ball over – was composed and efficient, scoring 12 points while hitting 4-of-6 shots from downtown, adding four assists, four rebounds and just one turnover. Boynton – save for a poor shooting performance Wednesday – continued his hot start to the season with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting while going 5-for-9 from beyond the arc.
“If you look at the quality of shots that those guys took and the way they were balanced, clearly they showed the kind of shooters they are. I told Erving this: 3-for-16, those days are over with right now. There’s too much offense on the floor right now, and you got to be able to just bide your time,” Donovan said after the game. “Tonight he took [seven] shots and he was really good. He controlled the game; he got the ball where it needed to go. He knocked down a couple threes in the second half. I thought Kenny got some good looks; he was patient. And I thought both guys really were patient.
“I give those guys a lot of credit. They want to win. I think sometimes those two guys get misconstrued a lot of times of what they’re about. Both of them want to win, and they’ve got a strong desire to win. What makes both of them great players is there’s a fearlessness there that they want to go out there and do it.
“Our team is different. We needed them sometimes when Chandler [Parsons] was maybe struggling to shoot the ball or Vernon [Macklin] had to be off the floor in the game because we were worried about him being fouled. It’s just a learning process of what’s around them right now, but they’ve always been like that. When you make points to those guys and they see it, they’re smart, intelligent guys and they understand. And they’re about the right things. They’re not the kind of guys that – people think they just want to shoot and score. They’re not like that at all, believe me. I’ve been around Erv now for four years; I’ve been around Kenny for three. I know what these guys are all about. They’re coachable, really good guys.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on the negatives from the game: “I was disappointed just with our defensive focus. We got into trading way too many baskets. Our defense guarding the ball was not very good, and we were terrific at that against Arizona, so I know we got the ability to do it. We were not great [on that end].”
» Donovan on Boynton’s penchant for four-point plays: “Sometimes with the way he does shoot a little bit – not that he kicks his legs out – but the way he does shoot. When he’s balanced, guys are flying at him sometimes and he gets it off quick enough that he can make those shots when he’s balanced. […] When he gets into a rhythm where he gets a couple clean looks and he knocks down a couple, then he’s capable of making a tough one here and there. The problem is when he starts off taking tough ones, of getting back into a rhythm and a flow.”
» Donovan on if this is a good time for the team to have some days off for finals: “Our guys need a little bit of a mental break here, I think, just to get their legs back under them, mentally get rejuvenated and refreshed. It’s a hard week for these guys because you’re practicing at odd times [and they’re taking exams]. Not having a game for a week and being able to work on some things that hopefully we can get better at, I think every coach says this but we need some practice time and hopefully we can get better.”
» Donovan said Florida should have scored more in the game, especially considering the team’s 25-to-6 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Gators missed a lot of easy layups and open shots in the contest.
» Between the quality of opponents, different styles of offense and defense, and the tough venues that Florida has played in already this season, the Gators should be totally prepared for anything they face in the SEC, Donovan said.