The No. 11/12 Florida Gators earned their 18th consecutive home victory Thursday by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 74-66 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The first of three games in six days, Florida’s victory left head coach Billy Donovan with plenty to talk about heading into the next contest on Saturday at 1 p.m.
IMPROVING ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS
The Gators’ offensive rebounding since the Southeastern Conference slate began has left much to be desired. Donovan was particularly bothered with the fact that junior guard Kenny Boynton (four) had more offensive boards than both freshman G Bradley Beal (two) and junior forward Erik Murphy (two) heading into Saturday’s game.
“Brad and Erik have got to get better at making that concerted effort, every time a shot is taken, at going to the glass,” he explained. Beal grabbed five offensive rebounds Thursday, and Murphy added two more, putting a smile on Donovan’s face.
“What won the game for us tonight is that we really did a good job getting to the offensive glass … and the fact that we got to the free throw line 32 times,” he said.
Florida shot poorly from the charity stripe in the first half but hit seven of their last eight attempts to finish 71.9 percent (23-of-32). The Gators’ free throw shooting has improved immensely since the beginning of the season, so much so that Donovan even feels comfortable giving one player a hard time when he starts off inconsistent in that area.
“I told Brad Beal, ‘I’m going to change your number to No. 12 for 1-for-2.’ He goes to the free throw line and is 1-for-2 the entire time,” Donovan joked.
VIDEO: CHARGE DRILL IN PRACTICE
The following video, courtesy of UF, shows Donovan’s charge drill during practice. This should help provide fans with some idea why players like redshirt junior G Mike Rosario have improved in this facet of the game throughout the season.
Watch the video and read post-game quotes…after the break!
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