12/2: Florida at UConn post-game report

The No. 12/14 UConn Huskies (8-0) handed the No. 15/12 Florida Gators (6-2) a tough defeat on Monday night at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT, winning 65-64 on a buzzer-beater that head coach Billy Donovan respectfully called “luck” and a “fluke” after the game. Donovan provided his perspective on the loss following the contest.

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» UConn knotted up the all-time series between the two teams at 1-1.
» Florida fell to 4-4 against top 25-ranked opponents dating back to last season with all four losses coming away from its home court.
» The Gators have lost six-straight and are 1-13 overall in their last 14 road games against ranked opponents. The Huskies improved to 11-1 in their last 12 games against ranked opponents outside their conference.
» UF lost for just the ninth time since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points in the game (60-9).
» The Gators are now 59-78 under Donovan in games decided by five points or less.
» Florida will host UConn next season in the second half of the home-and-home series.

END-OF-GAME SEQUENCE

Down one with 17.7 seconds left, UConn put the ball in the hands of point guard Shabazz Napier, who to that point had scored 24 of his team’s 63 points on the evening. After fighting out of a trap beyond the three-point line, Napier dribbled into the lane and missed a wild jump shot. Luckily for the Huskies, forward Deandre Daniels knocked back the loose ball to Napier, who shot a second jumper with 0.3 seconds left on the clock that swished as the buzzer sounded.

“We actually did a really good job,” said Donovan about Florida’s defense on the final possession. “We made the decision that we were going to trap him – and we did trap him – we got him to take a very, very difficult off-balance shot.

“The guy that won the game for them was DeAndre Daniels. He made an unbelievable tip-out off-balance which kept the ball alive. What we did was we had guys that were on Napier kind of ran to the rim to go defensive rebound, which left space for Napier. We needed to keep a guy there and we didn’t. But his shot really was luck in the fact that the ball was tipped to him. If it’s tipped anywhere else [the game’s over].”

He later added: “The last play was really a fluke play. I don’t think DeAndre Daniels even knew…he just tipped the ball back because he was off-balance…but it was a great play by him to at least keep the possession alive.”

The more egregious mistake, as Donovan also points out, is the fact that the Gators allowed the hosts to have three separate chances to tie the game on UConn’s second-to-last possession. The Huskies grabbed two offensive rebounds off a pair missed three pointers, and Napier finally drained one on his team’s third attempt. Napier also drew a phantom foul on the make, which Donovan was none too happy about, and wound up completing a four-point play to give his team the lead.

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Gameday: No. 15 Florida Gators at No. 12 UConn

Location: Harry A. Gampel Pavilion – Storrs, CT [Capacity: 10,167]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Seth Greenberg, Andy Katz)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(15) FLORIDA GATORS (12) UCONN HUSKIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Kevin Ollie
Record: 6-1 Record: 7-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: American
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +4 | O/U 130.5

PRE-GAME READING MATERIAL

» Notebook: Donovan prepares Florida for showdown with UConn
» Story: Gators up to No. 12/15 in new top 25 polls

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 1-0 all-time against UConn as the Gators defeated the Huskies 69-60 in overtime during the Sweet 16 round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament. UF would advance to its first-ever Final Four that postseason.
» The Gators are 4-3 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all three losses coming away from their home court.
» Florida has lost five-straight and is 1-12 overall in its last 13 road games against ranked opponents. UConn, on the other hand, is 10-1 in its last 11 games against ranked opponents outside of its conference.
» The Gators are 60-8 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF’s defense has started off allowing just 60.3 points per game through seven contests, making it the stingiest in the SEC; no opponent has scored more than 69.
» Florida also sports the SEC’s best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and second-best turnover margin (+4.1 per game).
» UF has already used five different starting lineups through seven games. Only two players – seniors forward Casey Prather and center Patric Young – have started every contest thus far.
» Donovan is looking for his 16th consecutive 20-win season. Florida has him ranked sixth all-time in that category behind only Dean Smith, Lute Olson, Mike Krzyzewski, Tubby Smith and Jim Boeheim.

Read the rest of the Florida-UConn gameday preview…after the break!
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