Battle 4 Atlantis Gameday: No. 18 Florida Gators vs. UAB Blazers – Donovan displeased with team

By Adam Silverstein
November 27, 2014

Location: Imperial Arena – Paradise Island, Bahamas [Capacity: 3,500]
Time: 9:30 p.m. EST

TV: AXS TV (Kenny Rice, Seth Davis, Tom Walsh)
Channels: AT&T U-verse (1106), Cox (199), DirecTV (340), Dish Network (167), Verizon FiOS (569) [Other: Channel Finder]
Streaming Video: None | Mobile Video: None

SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network Affiliates / Online

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Jerod Haase
Record: 2-2 Record: 2-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Conference USA

Odds: Florida -15 | O/U 123.5


» Florida is 2-1 all-time against UAB, and 19-15 against opponents in the Conference USA. Under Donovan, the Gators are 11-1 against C-USA teams with 11-straight wins and their last loss coming in 1997.
» Wednesday marked the second time in Donovan’s career that Florida played consecutive overtime contests. The last came in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
» The Gators have not deployed the same starting five in any of their four regular-season games thus far with eight different players getting starting nods. Only three players have started all four games.
» UF is looking for its 17th consecutive season with 20+ victories. Florida’s 16-straight campaigns with that many wins is the longest streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally. Only eight coaches have ever won 20+ games in 14+ consecutive seasons.
» Florida learned to win close games last season, going 14-2 in contests decided by single digits; the Gators are 1-2 in such affairs this season.
» Last Monday, Miami snapped Florida’s program-record 33-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nov. 11, 2012, and was the second-longest in the nation. The Canes also broke the Gators’ school-record 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents, which dated back to Dec. 22, 2010.
» Florida is still on program-record 18-game winning streaks against SEC opponents overall (since Jan. 8, 2014) and at home (since Jan. 9, 2014). UF has also won a school-record nine-in-a-row over SEC opponents on the road (since Jan. 11, 2014).
» In addition to the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, the Gators will also participate in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge and Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season.


There is no question that Donovan is none-too-pleased with the Gators but while Florida has its issues on both ends of the court, its biggest problems right now are on offense. The Gators are currently ranked 228th in the nation in points per game (65.3) and have failed to post 70 points in any of their first four contests, which have included two overtime games. Florida is also 206th in assist-turnover ratio (0.89) and 225th in field goal percentage (.416)

“We don’t play the right way. We don’t play the right way. We don’t. We’re not an overly-talented team, and we don’t have a lot of size. We’re a team I think that can be hard-working team, we can be an unselfish team, but we need to move and pass and share the basketball,” said Donovan late Wednesday.

“We turned it over 16 times. Last game, both our point guards had nine turnovers combined. Again, our point guards have more turnovers than assists. We don’t run offense. I would say our basketball acumen needs to get a lot better. There’s not a great feel sometimes with decisions that we make. It’s a hard thing as coach sometimes to put a feel into somebody, but trying to help them along and give [the guys] a better feel. … We got to get a better feel an understanding of how to utilize and play off each other.”

Donovan was so displeased with the Gators’ effort that he believes Florida only played 50 percent of Wednesday’s game “at a level I’d like to see us play.” In fact, Donovan would have been just upset had the Gators won the contest.

“I would not have felt good. I think sometimes winning is delusional because sometimes it does away with what’s actually real. Not that I want to see these guys go through pain and suffering, but these guys need to be hardened. They need to understand what goes into it and what it really takes,” he said. “Hopefully a night like tonight will harden them a little bit because we did not play well, in my opinion, all the way through.”

» Donovan on Carter’s end-of-regulation drive into the lane: “He’s got to find the open man on that play. He actually did a great job. I would much, much prefer Eli to get to the rim. Kasey Hill got to the rim very similar [in overtime] and it was an angle and he finished, it was a three-point play. People converged on Eli, and I got to show him film where he can make kick outs. But at least we’ve got two guards that can get in the lane. That’s the biggest thing right now. I felt like, maybe some previous years, we didn’t have guards that could get in the lane and we got caught hoisting a lot of desperation three-point hoists. I have no problem with Eli putting the ball on the floor like he did, but he could have got somewhat of an easier shot.”

» Donovan on Georgetown’s buzzer-beater: “We tried to take some time off the clock. I thought we did a good job. … We were all matched up. I think you give [D’Vauntes Smith-]Rivera credit. He made the shot. He had to make the shot and he did. … It’s one of those plays where he made a shot. Same thing we say for Kasey Hill. He kind of got down the lane, made a great play; it was a three-point play that put us up by one. But that’s what ended up happening really, he made a game-winning shot. You got to give him credit.”

» Horford on how the game ended: “It’s tough. We’re playing against high level competition. We can’t assume that we had it won. You got to play to the end. We got to get more intense. We can’t let them be comfortable. That’s on all of us as players.”

» Donovan said sophomore Chris Walker got the start on Wednesday because he had been working hard in practice and deserved the opportunity. Despite all of that, Walker played poorly, especially on offense. “I think obviously, around the basket, he really struggled. He really, really struggled,” Donovan said.


» Active (3): Redshirt junior guard Eli Carter (foot), redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith (hand), redshirt senior center Jon Horford (chin)
» Out (3): Redshirt junior forward Alex Murphy (transfer – fall semester), sophomore center John Egbunu (transfer – season), freshman guard Brandone Francis (academics – season)


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