No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (7-1) choked away a late six-point lead by committing three turnovers in the final minute and eventually fell 65-64 on the road to the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (8-0) on Wednesday in Tucson, AZ. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida and Arizona are now even at 2-2 in the all-time series between the two teams with each of the last two games going down to the wire.
» Entering the game, the Gators had only given up 26 or more points in a single half twice in 14 halves. UF allowed the Wildcats to score 29 and 36 in the first and second half, respectively.
» Arizona outscored Florida 15-0 combined in the final 1:21 of the first half and 0:56 of the second half.
» The Gators are now 32-2 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» Florida outrebounded its hosts 34-26 overall and 14-8 on the offensive glass.
» The Wildcats shot 13 more free throws than the Gators (21-8) on the night.
» Florida led by a game-high 11 points in each half.
» The Gators have not defeated a top-10 opponent in a true road game since 2003 and have never taken down a top-10 non-conference opponent in a true road game.
» Senior guard Kenny Boynton had one of the worst performances of his career, going 2-for-10 from the field and 1-for-7 from downtown to finish with five points. He also missed his only free throw attempt on a one-and-one at the end of the game. Boynton has only made two of his last 20 three-point attempts over the last three games and is shooting a combined 8-of-33 in that span. He did make his 113th career start on Saturday, which tied him with Erving Walker for fifth on the school’s all-time list.
» Conversely, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario had one of the best games of his Gators career save for his two turnovers in the final minute. Rosario was 5-of-8 from the floor, made both of his threes and converted all four of his free throws on the way to a team-high 16 points. He also had a team-high four assists.
» Junior center Patric Young continued to display his improved energy, but only scored eight points, did not get to the free throw line and only grabbed two boards in 35 minutes on the court.
» Junior forward Erik Murphy (3-for-5) and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (3-for-3) were also extremely efficient from downtown. The duo combined for 26 points on the evening. Murphy added seven rebounds, while Wilbekin contributed two dimes.
» Arizona G Nick Johnson made threes when it counted, going 3-for-4 from downtown for 15 points. Cohort Mark Lyons added 14 points for the Wildcats and hit the game-winning layup with seven seconds left in regulation.
» A game-high 18 points came from F Solomon Hill, who converted all six of his free throws attempts and made 5-of-9 shots from the field.
Read what Donovan had to say and see much more…after the break!
PITIFUL PLAY TO END EACH HALF
Donovan spoke at length about Florida giving the game away by allowing its opponent to dominate the final minute of each half on Saturday.
“I told our guys at halftime, ‘If we’re going to lose the game, let’s make them beat us.’ I thought we beat ourselves tonight, especially in the first half. We’re up 11 points … it’s an 8-0 run [by Arizona] and we’re up by three after building an 11-point lead. We build our lead back up again. We’re up by six with 1:20 or so to go in the game. Again, we didn’t close out very well. We didn’t execute well enough. We’ve had issues with turnovers. It has been an issue for us; it’s been a problem for us. … I’ve got to find a way, as a coach, to kind of try to cure that problem a little bit in terms of breaking and catching and flashing to the basketball. Even when we did get it inbounds, [we were] just dribbling out of control up the floor.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On if he thought about calling a timeout with seven seconds left after Lyons’s layup: “I did, but the ball got inbounded so quickly, their whole team was up the floor with seven seconds to go. I think it’s really hard to go the length of the floor in seven seconds with a set defense. .. What you need to do in that situation is inbound, run and pass the ball.”
» On Boynton’s poor performance the last three games: “I probably played Boynton too much at the point, personally. I think the last two games it’s probably affected his shooting. He has not shot the ball particularly well. … He’s out there a lot of minutes and he’s pressing.”
» On Lyons’s game-winning layup: “I think those shots are easy to make. What I mean by that is there’s no pressure. You’re down by one, you’re driving the ball down to the basket and he was aggressive and he made a tough spot. I’m not trying to take anything away from the shot he made – he made a very difficult shot, a very tough shot. In those situations when you’re down one like that, you have nothing else to do.”
» On how the Gators lost the game: “This will be a tough loss for our guys just because they poured it on the court and played really well, certainly played well enough to win and, in my opinion, really outplayed them for most of the game. But that doesn’t make a difference. It’s a 40-minute game. … The game was won because [the Wildcats] did the things necessary to win the game, so you’ve got to give them credit for that.”
» On using this as a teaching moment: “This is one of those things where, when I’m going on and on about turnovers, hopefully this will be a situation where we can draw attention to in practice to talk about the importance of it.”