No. 10/11 Florida Gators basketball (1-1), still short-handed due to suspensions, fell Tuesday night on the road with the No. 19/20 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) picking up a 59-53 victory at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. After the loss, Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media to provide some of his thoughts on the defeat.
“I think this environment really helped our team. … It was a great, great environment. I thought it was a tremendous experience for our basketball team being the second game of the year playing against an opponent like this. I thought we really made some strides from our last game to this game. We’ve gotten better.
“I thought we had a really, really hard time finishing some plays in particular around the basket. We missed a lot of layups and finishes at the rim that I think hurt us. We really did not take an enormous amount of three-point shots in the game, but the plays that we had around the basket, we probably didn’t make enough plays offensively. … We dug ourselves a hole. We battled, fought back. I thought overall for us there’s a lot we can take from this.”
MIXED PERFORMANCE FROM STANDOUTS
No single Florida player had an all-around great game, according to Donovan. Even sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, who scored a career-high 20 points off the bench via an impressive shooting performance (7-for-11 from the field, 5-for-7 from three), deserved his fair share of criticism.
“He shot the ball well again. He’s really a great shooter. He’s one of the best shooters I’ve coached,” Donovan said. “But he has got a long way to go defensively. I think he had 20 tonight. I’ll have to go back and see how many he gave up.”
Freshman point guard Kasey Hill looked to be in a great mindset early in the contest but seemed to deteriorate as the game went on. Hill fouled out of the game with 3:25 left and only made 2-of-11 shot attempts on the evening. Wisconsin made a concerted effort to take the ball out of others’ hands and give Hill room to shoot, especially from long range.
“For Kasey, the one thing I felt in the game was he really struggled shooting the basketball. And he took 11 shots; he probably could have taken 21 shots with the way they were playing him. I give him credit for his patience offensively. But I thought his lack of putting the ball in the basket really, really impacted him on the defensive end of the floor being a young guy,” Donovan explained. “He was visibly, to me, [looked] disappointed, upset, bothered, and I think that led to some of his foul trouble. He’s got to be able to move to the next play as a young kid.
“Obviously I’ve put him in a very difficult situation. The fact that he’s a freshman and we don’t have another point guard right now on our team and he’s got to absorb a lot of minutes. He’s kind of having to learn on the job, and I’m not so sure that’s the fairest thing to him. So there’s going to be some growing pains and some bumps and bruises on the way.”