No. 13/13 Florida Gators (22-5, 11-2 SEC) head coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes after his team’s 71-62 win over the Georgia Bulldogs on Thursday.
A TALE OF TWO HALVES
Donovan saying that Florida was “fortunate in this game to only be down seven at the half” is an understatement. The Gators shot an embarrassing 37 percent from the floor in the opening period and at one point were being outshot 63-29 percent from the field. The reason? Florida’s defense – especially in and around the paint – was lackluster, something Donovan in the past has blamed on the team’s offensive inefficiency. When the ball doesn’t go in the basket, he says, the team stops trying on defense as well.
“The dominated us in the first half in the paint,” Donovan said, “but at least we got it back and made it reasonable.” That they did due to a terrific effort from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and senior forward Chandler Parsons, each of whom scored the vast majority of their points in the second half.
PARSONS SHOWS HE’S TOUGH AND RESILIENT
Parsons may not have started Thursday, but he played a starter’s minutes. Averaging 33.3 minutes per game this season, Parsons was on the court for 30 on Thursday, with freshman starting F Casey Prather playing his usual seven minutes at the start of the game rather than spread throughout.
“He just went out and played. He got to the glass. He gave us a huge boost off the bench, getting 16 and seven; that was very helpful for our team to have him out there,” said Donovan of Parsons’s performance. “He really did a great job. I could see he was a little bit winded. We got him out of the game a few times to give him a blow, but he’s a tough kid. I was just happy to see him play aggressively.”
It was obvious that his stamina was understandably a bit of an issue having not played since Feb. 12, but the effort Parsons put in to getting healthy enough to contribute in a big way Thursday did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff. Over the last 11 days, Parsons had massage therapy, muscle stimulation and plenty of ice and relaxation while trying to reduce the swelling of his deep thigh bruise.
“What he did to get himself back was unbelievable. We had an assistant trainer in his room every night because he wanted to do that,” Donovan said. “I would say that, legitimately, he got five hours of treatment a day. […] He really worked hard to get back. Every time I was down there, he was around. He worked around the clock to get himself healthy. I’m proud he could come back and play and play the way he did tonight. He really worked hard, and I appreciate him working as hard as he did because he certainly helped our team tonight.”
Parsons also discussed how he was feeling after the game.
“It’s still sore, still something that I’m going to have to battle through. It’s not just going to go away, especially if I’m going to play on it,” he said. “It’s not going to go away anytime soon, but it’s not that severe. I just like to go out there and play. It’s just something I personally have to battle with. […] It’s not really like a pain, it’s just annoying…it’s sore.
“You’d have to cut off my leg for me to miss another game.”
Donovan talks about Boynton and his team’s performance…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2/24: Post-game notes: Parsons and Boynton