Florida-Albany post-game: Gators escape, breathe

The (1) Florida Gators (33-2) pulled away in the second half to escape the (16) Albany Great Danes (19-15) with a 67-55 victory in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Amyway Center in Orlando, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and some players met with the media to discuss the tough win.

WHAT WAS THAT?

For a team that has put together its share of blowouts this season, Florida being tied at 39 with Albany in the second half and only defeating a 15-loss team out of the America East by 12 points was understandably deflating. So one cannot blame the Gators for feeling a bit down in the locker room after the game, nor Donovan for being frustrated with UF’s overall performance.

“I’m a little bit baffled with our team right now,” he told the TBS sideline reporter before leaving the court for his post-game press conference.

“I was a little bit disappointed with our defense in the first half. I didn’t think we defended like we normally did,” he said in the media availability. “I thought in the second half we did a much, much better job in that area.”

The Great Danes hit 10 of their first 15 shots but only connected on nine of their last 31 attempts from the field. Nevertheless, the Gators only outscored the underdogs by six points in each half.

Many will chalk up Florida’s struggles to not being “up for the game,” thinking it could handle a 16-seed while playing a second-round game just over 100 miles from its home court. Donovan hopes that is not the case.

Continue Reading » Florida-Albany post-game: Gators escape, breathe

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Fastbreak: (1) Florida struggles but edges (16) Albany in 2014 NCAA Tournament

Getting more than they bargained for with the (16) Albany Great Danes (19-15) the overall top seed (1) Florida Gators (33-2) eventually led by just six at the break but pulled away in the second half for a 67-55 victory in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL.

OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:

It was over when: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin drained a three-pointer from the corner with just over two minutes remaining in the game to push Florida ahead by 12. He was inconsistent throughout most of the contest, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting (1-of-4 from deep) with four assists, three rebounds and no turnovers.

Prominent players: Senior center Patric Young achieved his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards but saw his flow interrupted in the second half when he picked up a third foul. Senior forward Casey Prather not just scored consistently (team-high 16 points) but also registered three blocks and two steals in the game and had one of the best defensive performances of the day.

Bountiful bench: Despite being listed as questionable entering the game, freshman PG Kasey Hill (turf toe) finished with 10 points on the afternoon. He scored eight in the second half when the Gators broke away from the Great Danes and also picked up two steals, an assist and a board. It was Hill’s first double-digit scoring game since Nov. 16, 2013 when he started for UF at home against Arkansas Little-Rock. Joining him as a big-time contributor was redshirt sophomore F Dorian Finney-Smith, who was one of two Florida players with a team-high 16 points, most of which came in the first half.

Significant stretch: Tied at 39, UF pieced together a 12-2 run – with four-straight points and a steal from Hill and a big three by sophomore guard Michael Frazier – to get a bit of breathing room and lead Albany by 10 midway through the second half. The Gators eventually increased their advantage to 12 points, which was also their winning margin.

Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
Continue Reading » Fastbreak: (1) Florida struggles but edges (16) Albany in 2014 NCAA Tournament

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Gameday – 2014 NCAA Tournament – Orlando, FL: (1) Florida Gators vs. (16) Albany Great Danes

Location: Amway Center – Orlando, FL [Capacity: 20,000]
Time: 4:10 p.m. EDT (30 minutes after the conclusion of Colorado-Pittsburgh)

TV: TBS (Brian Anderson, Dan Bonner, Kristine Leahy)
SiriusXM: 93/192 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: March Madness Live | Mobile Video: March Madness Live app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

See the Game in Person: Florida Gators tickets

(1) FLORIDA GATORS (16) ALBANY GREAT DANES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Will Brown
Record: 32-2 Record: 19-14
Conference: Southeastern Conference: America East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -22 | O/U: 121.5

HISTORY, STATS AND STREAKS

» Florida is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history (2007), holding a 6-0 record and national title the previous time it held this ranking entering the tournament.
» No. 1 seeds are 116-0 against No. 16 seeds since 1989. Only 14 of those games have been decided with final margins of victory in single digits.
» The Gators won the outright 2014 SEC regular-season title for the second-straight year and third time in the last four seasons. UF then went on to win the 2014 SEC Tournament Championship for the first time since 2007.
» The Great Danes earned the right to play in the Round of 64 after defeating Mount St. Mary’s 71-64 in first game of the First Four on Tuesday.
» Florida has played 54 games in 18 NCAA Tournament appearances, holding a 38-16 all-time in the event. The Gators have played 42 of those 54 games under Donovan, going 31-11 in those contests over 14 NCAA Tournaments.
» UF is 14-5 in Round of 64 games and has not been knocked out in its first NCAA Tournament game since 2010. In its last six NCAA Tournament appearances, the Gators have won back-to-back national championships (2006-07) and advanced to three-straight Elite Eights (2011-13).
» Florida is 1-0 all-time against Albany, winning 83-64 in Gainesville, FL on Nov. 10, 2005 in the lone meeting between the programs. The Gators have never lost to an AEC team (6-0, 5-0 under Donovan).
» UF enters Thursday’s second-round game on a program-record 26-game winning streak with victories in 31 of its last 32 games.
» The Gators are 83-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF is 15-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign. Florida is also 1-0 in overtime games.
» Florida is 5-0 in neutral-site games this season.
» The Gators are 22-5 playing as the top team in the country.
» Florida won 30+ games prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and can set a school record for most wins in a season by winning four games and advancing to the Final Four.

Continue Reading » Gameday – 2014 NCAA Tournament – Orlando, FL: (1) Florida Gators vs. (16) Albany Great Danes

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Florida PG Kasey Hill (turf toe) questionable for 2014 NCAA Tournament opener

Relatively injury-free for most of the season, save for some bumps and bruises, the No. 1 Florida Gators (32-2) will enter the 2014 NCAA Tournament dealing with an unexpected ailment as freshman point guard Kasey Hill has been deemed questionable for UF’s second-round game on Thursday with turf toe.

According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson, Hill was examined on Wednesday when Florida arrived at the Amyway Center in Orlando, FL ahead of its showdown against the 16-seed Albany Great Danes (19-14) on Thursday afternoon.

He will be re-evaluated during the Gators’ Thursday morning shoot-around, according to Thompson, with his status likely to be determined at that time.

Turf toe marks the third injury Hill has suffered this season.

After beginning the campaign as Florida’s starting point guard for four games while senior Scottie Wilbekin served a five-game suspension, Hill missed four contests with a high-ankle sprain suffered on Nov. 18, 2013 against Southern.

He was absent for three more games in February while dealing with a groin injury but has played his best ball over the Gators’ last six contests, averaging 5.0 points, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 19.3 minutes per game during that span.

Though Hill spells Wilbekin as Florida’s primary reserve point guard, he also spends time on the court alongside UF’s floor general. He has proven to be a spark off the bench for UF and a capable (albeit inconsistent) playmaker in his first year of college ball.

The Gators may choose to rest Hill even if he is cleared to play on Thursday as sophomore guard Michael Frazier II would be more than capable of filling in temporarily to handle the ball against the Great Danes.

It is more important for Florida to have Hill healthy for the duration of the tournament than against Albany on Thursday at 4:10 p.m.

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Florida lacrosse advances by topping Albany 6-4

Surviving stall tactics that kept the contest low-scoring, No. 1 Florida Gators lacrosse (18-2) defeated the Albany Great Danes (12-6) in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament and used their 6-4 victory to advance to the event’s quarterfinal round.

Florida started hot out of the gate, taking an early 4-0 lead before allowing Albany to get on the board with 11:28 remaining in the opening half. The Great Danes did their best to keep the ball away from the Gators’ potent offensive weapons, thus slowing down the pace of the game and reducing UF’s opportunities to put together a blow out, but were unable to score enough on their own even while winning the second half 3-2.

Freshman midfielder Shannon Gilroy, one match after scoring a career-high seven goals to lead Florida to the 2012 ALC Tournament Championship, once again led the Gators with two goals while also registering a team-high five draw controls.

Junior attacker Kitty Cullen, junior M Brittany Dashiell, freshman M Nora Barry and freshman M Nicole Graziano added a goal each.

UF extended their impressive winning streak to 14 games with the victory and will look to increase that number once again a week from Saturday when they take on Penn State in quarterfinal action on May 19 at 12:30 p.m.

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FOUR BITS: Addazio, volleyball, soccer, Harvin

1 » When things do not always go as planned for the Florida Gators, the fan base seems to freak out. Like last year, fans’ frustrations have already been pin-pointed on offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio. But as both the Orlando Sentinel‘s George Diaz and The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley will tell you, it was only one game and Addazio may indeed deserve a break. “I wasn’t happy with some the play calls Saturday, especially the screen pass from the 1-yard line that should have been ruled a safety,” Dooley wrote in particular. “But with Addazio as coordinator, Florida is now 14-1. I think that has to count for something. Let’s see what happens the rest of the way. Off the ledge, people. Like I’ve said a million times, nobody suffers winning like Gator fans.”

2 » Facing a top-15 opponent for the third time in their first five matches of the 2010 season, No. 4/6 Florida volleyball (5-0) defeated the No. 13/15 Colorado State Rams (5-1) in four sets – 25-22, 25-19, 25-27, 25-21. The victory, which won the Gators the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational emanating from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, featured another brilliant performance from junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy. She, along with senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe, recorded 13 of Florida’s 10 kills. One day prior, in matches that took place earlier in the invitational, volleyball swept the both the Bowling Green Falcons (25-12, 25-11, 25-16) and Albany Great Danes (25-8, 25-21, 25-14) in three sets.

The Gators will host another tournament, the Nike Big Four Classic, beginning Friday. The other three teams participating in the event are No. 1 Penn State, Texas and Stanford, and all game information is available via OGGOA’s Upcoming Schedule table at the top right of your screen.

3 » Also running through the competition this year is No. 7 Florida soccer (5-0), which had six different players score while shutting out the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-3) 6-0 on Friday at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Junior forward Lindsay Thompson (27’), junior F/midfielder Tahnai Annis (30’), freshman F/MF Maggie Rodgers (45’), redshirt sophomore MF McKenzie Barney (50’), freshman defender Mary-Ann Krlin (80’) and sophomore F/MF Natalia Torosian (90’) all punched goals through. As a team, Florida had 30 shots on Jacksonville, 14 of which were on goal. UF is set to face Florida State next on the road Friday at 7 p.m.

4 » Though he missed most of training camp grieving two deaths and suffering from another severe bout of migraine headaches, former Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin says he is “ready to play ball” for the Minnesota Vikings beginning Thursday night in the NFL’s 2010-11 season opener against the New Orleans Saints (including former Florida defensive end Alex Brown and running back DeShawn Wynn). Harvin, who will be on of quarterback Brett Favre’s primary pass catchers along with the team’s kick returner, believes he is finally getting his migraines under control with the help of numerous doctors. “There’s no miracle solution for them,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “The people I talked to had them for 40-plus years. My mom had them for 35 years and is just now growing out of them. It’s just something you got to hope to maintain. […] I think we have a great plan.”

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