2/4: Florida vs. Vanderbilt post-game notes

By Adam Silverstein
February 4, 2012

The No. 11/12 Florida Gators earned their 19th consecutive home victory Saturday by defeating the No. 25 Vanderbilt Commodores 73-65 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The second 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 Tuesday at 7 p.m.


Florida at one point in the first half had a game-high 10-point lead but improved offensive play combined with major foul trouble to the Gators’ frontcourt sent the team reeling. Sophomore center Patric Young, junior forward Erik Murphy and even freshman guard Bradley Beal each picked up two fouls and UF played the last third of the first half with an extremely small lineup.

“We got put in a tough situation … and we really got caught playing the last 6-7 minutes of the half with [Scottie] Wilbekin at the power forward spot. To be up three going into the half, I was really pleased,” Donovan explained.

“Our energy was waning a little bit. It is tough when you go Thursday-to-Saturday like we’ve got to do. I thought we were teetering to start the second half. […] I tried to just encourage those guys to keep battling and fighting, and I thought we did that. The thing that helped was trying to rotate guys in and out and keep them in for short bursts because I really thought [in] a lot of ways we were gassed.”

In addition to having Wilbekin at the four, Donovan also thrust redshirt junior G Mike Rosario into the three role. Both players did their best but no one had a bigger task than sophomore F Will Yeguete, who was tasked with controlling Vanderbilt C Festus Ezeli in the post while the big man was on the floor.

“It was a little confusing because Scottie was there playing the four. I was a little lost,” he admitted. “We had to just battle through because Pat and Erik had two fouls, so we just had to wait for the second half and do our best. We did a good job.”

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]If two players were to be singled out for their respective performances on Saturday, Beal and Yeguete would undoubtedly get those honors. After struggling in the first half, Beal hit two big threes in the second half, took a ball coast-to-coast for an impressive lay-in and netted four free throws down the stretch to help Florida offensively.

“I was really proud of Brad,” Donovan said. “He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well … in the first half. He didn’t have a great first half and didn’t do a whole lot but then he knocked down a big three for us that gave us the lead. He had a great transition drive; he got fouled one time going to the rim. He made a lot of really good plays that really impacted the game. The last 10 minutes of the game he really made some big plays.”

Still trying to improve his offensive game, Yeguete factored in mostly on the defensive end. He was the main cog causing the Gators’ press to be successful and gave the team a major boost while on the court for 29 minutes.

“He was great. He was really good in the press, disruptive, steals, deflections. He really exerted a lot of energy. He was a difference maker in the press for us,” Donovan said. “The thing with him that he’s great at – and he’s probably the best guy since Brent Wright who was here up there – there’s a lot of decisions he has to make in the press of when to go trap, when not to go trap, understanding how the floor is starting to move and look. He’s got a really high IQ of understanding hat. When he’s in that mode there where he can kind of freelance around, he can cause some problems. He was really disruptive.”


» Donovan on deciding to start Young after five-straight games on the bench: “Patric is too critical to our team and too valuable that I just forced him right back into the starting lineup. And that was a great decision because he played three minutes in the first half with two fouls. [Smiling] I’m not so sure if that was a good decision or not. […] It was nothing that he did or didn’t do.”

» Junior G Kenny Boynton on trying to end Kentucky’s home winning streak: “I’m very excited. We got the team to do it.”[/EXPAND]


  1. dp says:

    Any Diggs updates? I’m tired of ready all of this crap from self proclaimed experts.

  2. Joe says:

    What’s up with Larson. He is listed as a C/F and 6’9″. I would think he would be better at the 4 than Welbikin at 6″2″ yet he never came off the bench.

  3. Swift_Tech says:

    Beal is a really special player,ITS CRAZY how good he is. If we can keep him a young we are likely to be in the final four the next couple years.

  4. jay d says:

    we beat kentucky at rupp on tuesday and we will be playing for championships this year!!!

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