12/15: Florida at Arizona post-game report

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.

PLAYER NOTES

» 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!
Continue Reading » 12/15: Florida at Arizona post-game report

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Late turnovers doom Florida in loss to Arizona

No. 5 Florida Gators basketball (7-1) blew a six-point lead with a less than a minute left to play, turning the ball over three times and allowing the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (8-0) to pull off a stunning 65-64 come-from-behind victory at the McKale Center in Tucson, AZ on Saturday evening.

Leading 64-58 following a three-pointer by junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, Florida had possession with 1:01 to play and was looking to throw the ball in when redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario committed the team’s first turnover.

Following two Arizona free throws and a timeout by head coach Billy Donovan, Rosario threw the ball out of play again while trying to force it to Wilbekin. The Wildcats capitalized on the Gators’ miscue by converting a layup, but UF still retained a two-point lead with 43 seconds left to play.

Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton was stripped while trying to dribble the ball up the court against the press on the very next possession. Arizona only converted one of two attempts from the charity stripe and fouled Boynton with 21 seconds left. Boynton missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Wildcats senior G Mark Lyons hit the go-ahead layup with seven seconds left to clinch the victory for the home team.

The Gators led most of the game but fell flat on their faces at the end of each half. Florida was outscored a combined 15-0 in the final 1:21 of the first half and final 0:56 of the second half, committing four turnovers and two shooting fouls in that time.

An early 9-0 run by the Gators allowed them to take a quick 14-7 lead. A few minutes later, Florida capped a 10-2 scoring stretch with a three-pointer by senior forward Erik Murphy to inflate that advantage to a game-high 11 points with 3:57 left to play.

The Wildcats, despite committing eight first-half turnovers, were able to get right back in the contest by closing the opening period on an 8-0 run over the final 1:21. Arizona ended the half behind 32-29 but had all of the momentum heading into the break.

UF was able to start the second half like the first, using an 8-2 run to take back its double-digit lead and extending it once again to 11 points with 10 minutes to play after Rosario drained a three from the corner.

It did not take long for UA to get right back in the contest as the Wildcats scored seven-straight points in just over a minute and eventually reduced their deficit to three with less than five minutes remaining. Arizona then took it to Florida over the final minute of the game to pull off the come-from-behind win.

The Gators and Wildcats each had three players score in double figures. Lyons (14), senior F Solomon Hill (18) and sophomore G Nick Johnson (15) led the way for Arizona, while Rosario (16), Murphy (15) and Wilbekin (11) put up most of Florida’s points.

UF’s trio was a combined 8-for-10 from beyond the arc, which made up for an overall lackluster performance by Boynton, who was just 2-for-10 from the field and 1-for-7 from downtown. Murphy (five), Boynton (three) and Rosario (three) turned the ball over plenty throughout the game but especially in the second half and the final minute.

Arizona took 21 foul shots on the evening, 13 more than Florida, which only put up eight in 40 minutes. The Gators won the rebounding battle 34-26.

Florida will be forced to put this game out of its collective mind as the Gators must turnaround and face Southeast Louisiana on Wednesday. The game will air live at 7 p.m. on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

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Gameday: (5) Florida Gators at (8) Arizona

Location: McKale Center – Tucson, AZ [Capacity: 14,538]
Time: 10:00 p.m. EDT

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD (Dave Pasch, Miles Simon)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter and SportsYapper app

No. 5 FLORIDA GATORS No. 8 ARIZONA WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Sean Miller
Record: 7-0 Record: 7-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Pacific-12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -1.5 | O/U 134.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 2-1 all-time against Arizona and 2-0 under Donovan. UF has won eight-straight games against Pac-12 opponents and are 11-9 all-time against the conference including 8-2 under Donovan. UA has lost three-straight games to SEC foes.
» This is the first time that two top-10 teams will meet in the McKale Center since 2004.
» Four of the Gators’ regular starters are averaging double figures.
» Florida has held five of its seven opponents to 49 points or fewer. The Gators have only given up 26+ points in a single half twice in 14 total halves this campaign.
» UF dominated in its season opener, holding Alabama State to just nine first-half points and setting a school record in the shot clock era for fewest allowed in a half.
» Florida is 32-1 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponents under 71 points in a game.
» The Gators were just 3-5 against top-25 opponents last season with all five losses coming to top-three teams. UF is currently scheduled to take on seven top-25 opponents as part of the 2012-13 campaign and is already 1-0 in such games.
» Florida is second nationally in scoring defense (48.3 points), third in scoring margin (+25.3 points) and seventh in field goal percentage defense (.349).
» The Gators are second nationally in fouling, committing 13.1 per game, and 134th nationally in assists, dishing just 13.7 per game.
» Arizona ranks 10th in rebound margin (+11.4), while Florida checks in at 13th (+10.7) in that category nationally.
» The Wildcats get most of their offense from three starters that combine for 39.3 points and 9.4 assists per game. All three shoot better than 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
» Arizona has four players that average 4.4-6.7 rebounds per game each.

Read the rest of the Florida-Arizona preview…more after the break!
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Gators a top-five team to everyone but Donovan

Pick a college basketball analyst or coach out of a lineup and ask them where they would rank the Florida Gators through the first seven games of the 2012-13 season. If recent columns and poll votes are to be believed, those involved with the game across the country almost unanimously believe that Florida is one of the top teams on the nation based on what it has done so far this campaign.

For head coach Billy Donovan, who is notoriously dismissive of preseason polls, the Gators are just like any other team in the nation. Florida is learning to play together and trying to grow each week in an effort to end the season on the top of the mountain.

“We’ve played seven basketball games. For me to sit there and say we’re one of the five best teams in the country, I’m not so sure I agree with that,” he said on Wednesday.

“I’m not so sure that, at the end of the year, we can’t be. But right now, to say through seven games that we are [a top-five team], I’d be hard-pressed to say just because we haven’t played enough games.”

Donovan is right in some ways. The Gators have only played one true road game and have only faced a single opponent that was ranked when the game tipped off.

What Florida has done to impress the country as a whole is dominate every team it has faced. The Gators are ranked second nationally in scoring defense (48.3 points per game allowed) and third nationally in scoring margin, defeating opponents by an average of 25.3 points per game.

Read the rest of this story…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators a top-five team to everyone but Donovan

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12/7: Florida vs. Arizona post-game notes

The No. 12 Florida Gators took down the Arizona Wildcats 78-72 in overtime Wednesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and the players provided their thoughts on the win.

FOCUSING ON SOME POSITIVES

Before diving into all of the things that the Gators did wrong Wednesday, Donovan made it a point to mention how proud he was of the team not getting down on itself for shooting poorly and instead sticking together and pulling through in the end.

“Our guys really showed resiliency. Up three with five seconds to go, our guys probably could have come to the huddle disappointed and disenchanted that the game is going to overtime feeling like they had it. We showed some resiliency and some fight,” he said.

“I was pretty annoyed going into the overtime. Our guys kept a pretty good focus and they battled and they fought and they found a way to win the game in overtime. It wasn’t one of our better games. I didn’t feel like we played very intelligently. Arizona had a lot to do with that. They were certainly well-prepared and they did a great job. The things that I thought would cause us some problems in the game really did cause us some problems. Our guys found a way to hang in there and make some plays and finally make a few free throws to win the game.”

CHARITY STRIPE NOT SO CHARITABLE

There is only one way to say it: Florida was awful from the free throw line Wednesday. The Gators opened the contest 0-7 from the line and went 1-9 in the first half. Then stuck at 2-14 with just 2:59 left in regulation, Florida turned it on and hit 5-6 to close the second half and 8-10 in overtime. The Gators hit 13 of their finaly 16 attempts (thanks mostly to senior point guard Erving Walker) but still shot just 47 percent in the game.

“I’ve never ever seen in my life 2-for-14 at one point from the free throw line. I could go out right now and make 2-for-14 left handed. Two-for-14? Everybody in this room could make 2-for-14,” Donovan said emphatically. “I thought we drained ourselves where we had some really good possessions in the first half that led to us getting fouls. We had them in foul trouble in the first half. We got to the bonus very early in the first half, and we just completely killed runs and momentum with our free throw shooting.

“It’s not one guy. It’s our whole team, and we have to do a better job. In overtime and coming down the stretch we did do a better job making free throws. The two biggest things in the game that I look at in the stat sheet is Walker and [Kenny Boynton – what they were from the field – and our free throw shooting. Those two things were somewhat disappointing.”

More on Walker and Boynton’s shooting is coming from OGGOA on Thursday.

YEGUETE THE WORM

Aside from sophomore center Patric Young – who scored a career-high 25 points on an efficient 12-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds and only three fouls in 38 minutes – sophomore forward Will Yeguete was the star of the show Wednesday. In addition to hitting all three of his shots, Yeguete grabbed eight rebounds (three offensive) and four steals; however that stat line barely equates to his impact in the game.

Yeguete was all over the place Wednesday, helping create turnovers and rebounding opportunities, playing great defense and often being in the right place at the right time on loose balls. Donovan noticed that and offered up some great praise.

“He drives me nuts from the free throw line, he really does, but the thing about him is all of those intangible things, I really do think he is like Dennis Rodman on a smaller scale. He just rebounds. He’s like The Worm. He just comes up with plays, deflections, steals, hands on balls, offensive rebounds, [keeping] stuff alive. He gives incredible effort,” he said.

“All of those things that people look at as being very unglamorous, he makes them pretty glamorous by the way he approaches it and attacks. He’s the one guy on our team that, when you see him do those things, you can clearly say, ‘Wow, that’s what coaches love. They love those guys.’ Fans love guys and appreciate guys that give that kind of effort and do all the little things. He’s got a great ability to do that. He’s really special in that area.”

Yeguete’s teammates also appreciate him. “That’s my best friend and my roommate as well,” Young said after the game. “Just to find him it is that kind of bond you just can’t really describe. Whoever he’s guarding, he’s going to give them hell. If anybody crosses over in front of him, he’s going to get his hand on it.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on why he didn’t play redshirt junior G Mike Rosario in the second half: “I thought Mike played really good. He was really locked in; he was focused. We got down, and I really tried to keep defense out there with [Casey] Prather in the second half, Yeguete in the second half and Scottie Wilbekin. I thought we really needed to get defensive stops. With Arizona’s speed and quickness son the floor there in the second half, Mike was out there but you could tell he was a step behind on some plays. We were getting put into some rotations. If it wasn’t for Mike in that first half, we probably could have been down 10-12 points going into the half. I think he really responded well from the Syracuse game.”

» Walker on the game: “Coach just said keep playing. It’s a 40-minute game. Teams make runs, and that’s a good team we played. For us to come out and win after the way we played today – not that we played bad. Pat played great for us. He picked up the slack for everybody. For us to come out with a win, that’s great for us tonight.”

» Walker on how he thinks the team played: “We feel like we got away with one. Coach D told us great game. We were resilient and he was proud of us. He told us there were nights the ball just won’t go in the hole and we have to defend and rebound to still win games. Our crowd tonight helped us out a lot tonight being at home. With the way we shot the ball, it was huge for us. […] We got kind of lucky tonight.”

» Young on the team’s mindset in overtime: “Everyone was like, ‘Man, that was crazy he called that.’ But you got to keep playing. We say it’s a 40-minute game, but today it was a 45-minute game. We had to keep our mindset that we were going to play hard defensively, we were going to take care of the ball and we were going to knock down free throws. We didn’t shoot very good free throws today, but in the clutch we knocked them down and in overtime.”

» Freshman G Bradley Beal on the foul with five seconds left: “Nobody agreed with the call but you have to turn around and start focusing on overtime. You have to stay composed and just play basketball.”

» Beal on the Rowdy Reptiles: “The crowd was pretty hype – it was the sixth man for us.”

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No. 12 Florida escapes Arizona 78-72 in overtime

It took five minutes longer than they probably hoped, but the No. 12 Florida Gators (6-2) came away from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday evening with a 78-72 victory over the Arizona Wildcats (6-3) in overtime.

Florida sophomore center Patric Young posted his third double-double of the season, scoring a career-high 25 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds (six offensive). Gators senior point guard Erving Walker, who struggled from the floor in regulation, scored seven points in overtime and finished with 14 to go along with five assists and five turnovers.

Arizona jumped ahead to an early lead but was also sloppy at the start of the game, turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes of the contest. Junior forward Erik Murphy and redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario checked in for the first time less than five minutes into the game and each hit a three-pointer as part of a 12-2 run that gave Florida a 14-7 advantage and its first lead of the game.

Rosario wound up going 3-for-5 from downtown for 10 points in the first half, and the Gators were supported early on by Young, who scored 12 of the team’s first 20 points. However, the Wildcats ended the half on a 6-0 run – capped by a buzzer-beating floater by G/F Kevin Parrom – and took a one-point lead into halftime.

Tied at 41 with 15 minutes to play, Arizona used an 11-4 run to take a 52-46 lead and eventually jumped ahead seven points. Florida struggled shooting again in the second half but eventually put together a 14-4 run of their own to jump ahead 66-63 with just eight seconds remaining.

After bringing the ball across the court, the Wildcats called timeout inbounded it to F Solomon Hill, who was accidentally fouled by sophomore G/F Casey Prather. Hill was hit with his back to the basket beyond the arc, but the referees believed he was in the act of shooting and rewarded Arizona with an opportunity to tie the game on three foul shots.

Hill hit all three of his attempts to knot it at 66, and a half court three-pointer by Walker clanged off the backboard at the end of regulation.

Walker scored first for the Gators in overtime and hit five three throws down the stretch to help solidify a win for Florida. Three Wildcats (including Hill) fouled out in the extra period, and the Gators never trailed once in overtime.

Florida opened the contest 0-for-7 from the line and went just 1-for-9 in the first half. The Gators were only 2-of-14 from the charity stripe with 2:59 to play in regulation but hit 5-of-6 to close the second half and 8-of-10 in overtime to finish the game by connecting on 13 of their final 16 attempts.

Arizona was efficient from the line all evening (11-of-15) and cut down on their turnovers, coughing the ball up just four times in the second half after giving Florida 10 extra chances in the first 20 minutes.

Aside from Young, who shot 80 percent from the field, the Gators made just 30 percent of their attempts from the floor. UF shot 25.9 percent from downtown, outrebounded the UA 40-31 (17-7) and only turned the ball over 11 times.

Though it may not show up on the stat sheet, sophomore F Will Yeguete was a presence for Florida throughout the game, grabbing eight boards (three offensive) and four steals while scoring seven points on 3-for-3 shooting. He was involved in numerous other rebounds and turnover situations.

Gators junior G Kenny Boynton had his worst shooting performance of the season, hitting just 2-of-11 shots (1-for-6 from downtown) for nine points. Freshman G Bradley Beal also scored nine points, adding six rebounds and two assists.

UF will travel to Jacksonville, FL on Friday for a neutral site contest against Rider. The game will air live on Comcast Sports South (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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12/5: Donovan on Murphy, Rosario, Arizona

With No. 12 Florida Gators basketball set to host the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Monday to discuss what preparations have been made for his team’s next game.

MURPHY READY TO RETURN

After missing three games due to a bruise in his knee, junior forward Erik Murphy will return to the court on Wednesday against Arizona. “He’s going to play. Right now he’s been cleared. He worked out yesterday on his own; he did some running. He’ll probably go through about half the contact right now,” Donovan said. “Provided the next two days go as planned with him physically, he should be able to play. He feels good right now. We’ll have him out there today, and I would anticipate right now the expectation level is that he’s going to play in the game.”

Though he may be able to play, it is unknown whether or not Murphy will get the start. Donovan could decide to use him sparingly if he’s not 100 percent. Either way, he was cautious to say that things would have gone differently on Friday if Murphy had been available to play at Syracuse.

“There was a lot of talk that he would have helped us against Syracuse in the zone because he’s a guy who can step out and shoot. I don’t know if he would have or would not have. Who knows? He didn’t play in the game. He could have been in the game and played great or been in the game and played not well. We went into the game with what we had,” he said.

“There’s no question that Erik is a big part of our team. He’s a different kind of player because he does shoot the basketball and he does give us some length and he allows us to play a little bit of a bigger lineup…but when a guy is injured you kind of got to go with what you’ve got. That’s what we had at that point in time. He just wasn’t available to play. There’s no question that, when you have a player like Erik available, it does add a different dimension to our team. That’s not to sit there and say we would have beat Syracuse with him. He would have had to gone out there and performed and played well and given us something a little bit differently than what we had in the game.”

ROSARIO MUST GET HIS HEAD IN THE GAME

Donovan benched redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario on Friday after the Gators’ sixth man saw just six minutes of court time. He said following the game that the decision was based solely on Rosario’s recent mindset and his displeasure with how he was approaching playing. Donovan expanded on those thoughts in a big way on Monday:

“He’s fine. One of the things with him right now is mentally I just feel like he’s trying to figure out – and this is all different for him. He was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. He has pretty much always been a starter. And it’s not even necessarily about starting or not starting. That’s not the problem. The bigger challenge for him is coming off the bench and that being somewhat new to him. He’s fine knowing whatever is best for our team; he understands. I think it has been somewhat of a mental drain on him a little bit trying to figure out how he can carve his niche in something he’s never done before. It’s my responsibility to try and help him through some of that.

“Clearly I don’t think the last couple of days he’s been himself because he’s probably been a little frustrated not with his role but with himself that he can’t provide more than he can. He feels like he can and knows he can, and I believe like he can too. Just mentally he did not seem like he was where he needed to be in the first half when we threw him in there. […]

“He and I had a chance to talk. I would imagine that he’s in a better place mentally right now than probably he was back then. When you sit out for a while year, you want to come in and find a way to help – whatever way you can do. I think he’s trying to figure out how he can go about helping. His way of helping teams in a lot of ways has just been through his scoring all the time. There’s more things that he can do to help our team, that he needs to do to help our team. He needs to get more committed on defense. He needs to get more committed to doing the little things. He’s already a proven scorer. We’re not lacking for scoring. We’re not lacking for that. So even if he’s not on the floor, there’s going to be enough guys that can make some shots and there’s different things that we can do.

“He does add a different element to our team. When he does get in the game, his difficult is when he’s out there, he’s got to get going right away. It’s not like we have 5-7 minutes in the game to let him warm up and get loose and go at his pace. He needs to go. He needs to be aggressive. He needs to be on edge. He needs to be focused, and he needs to defend at the level he needs to. For him, he’s always been a guy that’s been out there and has been able to play through different things. That’s not the case right now. He’s not able to do that. He’s got to be able to come in there and make an impact.

“For him, a lot of people have defined the role as instant offense off the bench. I’m not worried about his scoring. He’s proven that he can score. We need other things out of him. One game this year he grabbed seven rebounds. He’s done some really good things, and he’s shown the ability to make shots, but he’s also got to make a commitment defensively where when he’s on the floor we’re not playing with a weak link out there defensively. For him, trying to figure that out has been something that he’s struggling with right now that I need to help him with.”

BEAL’s BUMPY ROAD WILL SMOOTH OUT

As a freshman on a team with a good amount of experience in the backcourt, guard Bradley Beal has looked out of sorts at times, especially when it comes to shooting consistently and taking care of the ball. Donovan is not worried one bit about Beal’s early struggles because he knows that his talent will make up for the time it is taking him to adjust sooner than later.

“He’s a freshman. It’s no different than what Kenny Boynton went through as a freshman, or Chandler Parsons or Lee Humphrey. Lee Humphrey proved to be one of the best three-point shooters to ever play here,” he said.

“When the speed of the game is totally different than it was in high school, there’s always a learning curve that you’ve got to go through. Part of the reason that he’s been able to stay on the floor as long as he has is that he is defending and he is rebounding. He rebounds the ball – that was one of my concerns when we lost Chandler. With our guards, what kind of rebounding will we get from the small forward spot? He’s really done a great job there. I’m not worried about his shooting because he is a great shooter. He needs for me to give him confidence continually to take good shots, and he does take good shots. Those things will start falling as the season unfolds, we play more games, and he gets more comfortable to the speed and athleticism and length of the college game coming from high school.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on dropping the game to Syracuse: “There’s a commitment that goes into doing the things that you got to do in a game to win. We knew going into the game our ability to rebound the ball was going to be critical. Our ability to guard them off the dribble, which I think we did a fairly decent job in, and then obviously the turnovers. We had some plays there where some of the turnovers were not as costly because they were dead ball turnovers and we were able to get back in transition and set our defense. There were a couple late there that certainly hurt us. […] It will help us going forward. Just a commitment and understanding not only at the game but in practice of what you got to do to put yourself in a position to win a game like that.”

» Donovan on Florida playing good man-to-man defense: “They’re extremely explosive, long and athletic in transition. We did a fairly decent job – when we didn’t turn the ball over – getting pretty good shots. We shot a decent percentage on the road in a tough place to shoot. That enabled us to keep them out of transition. They were averaging 30 points a game in transition, and I think they had 15-16 in our game, which playing against them is hard to do. […] Defensively we were pretty locked in with what we needed to do to defend them.”

» Donovan on playing tough road opponents: “Our guys understand that playing the second game of the year at Ohio State, going to Syracuse, I’m not sure how many teams would be favored going into both of those teams’ gyms. We got a chance to play against two of the better teams in the country on the road. You got to put yourself in a position where you don’t beat yourself so to speak. In both of those games – in particularly Ohio State – they did a great job but we made some decisions offensively that really hurt us. We went for long stretches without scoring and that shouldn’t be the case. Offensively we did a better job being patient [against Syracuse] and we rebounded the ball fairly well. Syracuse will be as big as long and as athletic a team as we’ll face this year.”

» Donovan on Arizona being a similar team to UF: “There’s a lot of similarities in a lot of aspects of the way we’re playing because there’s time that we’re small like they’re small. […] They have the ability to totally alter the look of their team. They can go pretty big or they can go very small. They have shown the ability to play small and go on great runs in big spurts.”

» Sophomore F Will Yeguete on learning to rebound: “I had to work on it a little bit, position-wise, my feet, going for the ball. I got better and that’s one thing I can bring every game and I can control.”

» Yeguete on Rosario: “We know what Mike’s capable of. We know how good Mike can be and how much he can help us. He’s showed to all of the fans that he can be really good. He just had one bad game and was a little bit down on himself.”

» Senior point guard Erving Walker on the Gators turning the ball over a lot versus good opponents: “Now we’ve played two really good teams. We got our feet wet with them. It’s a totally different level of competition playing against an Ohio State or Syracuse on the road than Stetson – no disrespect o teams like that. It’s just a different atmosphere and things that we can adjust to well.”

» Walker on getting Murphy back: “It’s a huge boost – another guy that can knock down shots, big man presence, and he can help with rebounds and stuff like that.”

» Walker on Rosario: “Mike is a tough kid. He’s confident and tough. It was just a few things going on with him. I’m sure he’ll be fine and ready to play. He’s working hard at it. It’s not a switch that’s going to happen overnight for him. Mike’s a tough kid and he’s smart. He’s going to figure it out.”

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