Gators look to move past miscues
As the Gators trudged off the court Saturday night after a 65-64 collapse at Arizona, Florida fans wondered — many aloud — how the team could manage to botch three consecutive inbounds plays with just over a minute to play.
On Tuesday, when Florida coach Billy Donovan broke down his team’s late-game miscues at length, he also expressed what he feels is an important facet which is being overlooked by those who are focusing on the Gators’ inbounding.
“The one thing that gets lost, and I told our guys, you still have a chance to play defense,” Donovan said. “On two of the plays, our defense could have been set to get a stop, and we didn't get a stop.”
Despite blowing their lead down the stretch, the No. 8 Gators (7-1) still had seven seconds to dribble the length of the floor and win the game after Arizona’s Mark Lyons scored the go-ahead basket for the Wildcats. However, Florida failed to get off a decent shot attempt before the final buzzer sounded, and according to Donovan, the Gators’ final possession may have been doomed from the beginning.
“We did not execute at the end when they scored if you go back and look at it,” Donovan said. “It should have been the same situation as South Carolina a couple years ago with Chandler [Parsons], where Devan Downey made a drive with five or six seconds and we got the ball right back up the floor and we got a really good look. With the way we executed when [Arizona] scored, we didn’t do a very good job there.”
Naturally, when something goes awry in a big game, some start to look for patterns of this behavior in previous situations. The Gators have seemingly collapsed in a number of monumental games recently — most notably in their two previous Elite Eight appearances. However, Donovan was to quick to dismiss the notion that his teams always appear to fold in late-game moments.
“No, I mean, I don’t think so,” Donovan said. “Obviously, if guys don’t make free throws, that could be an issue. Our issue was turning the basketball over. I mean obviously it’s a pretty broad-based thing when you say that. If there was one specific thing where you say this is causing us a problem, but I think it’s a lot of things. But when you play good teams, you’ve got to be able to play for 40 minutes.”
Before their first loss of the season, the Florida hype-machine was turned to the max with some experts citing the Gators as a potential Final Four team after winning their first seven games in impressive fashion. While the tough loss may have been a reality check for the Gators, Donovan also feels that his team did show some positives in Tucson, Ariz.
“I thought our guys really competed hard,” Donovan said. “There’s no question there was also 38 and a half minutes in there where we did some really, really good things and we did some poor things.”
For now, the Gators move on to their first home game in the last three weeks against Southeastern Louisiana tonight at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center. It will be the only home game the Gators play in December, as they will play two neutral site games and a road contest before coming back to home to open SEC-play in January.
The Lions (1-7) may prove to not be too much of a challenge for the Gators, but the game now seemingly comes at a perfect time.
While Florida still has the potential to dance into early April, it’s clear it has much to work on in the meantime.
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2014 Football Commits
|Davidson (NC) Day|
|Columbia (SC) Spring Valley|
|Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar|
|Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County|
|Jacksonville (Fla). Raines|
|Deland (Fla.) High|
|New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine|
|Miami (Fla.) Central|
|Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas|
2013 Basketball Commits
|Clermont (Fla.) Montverde Academy|
|Bonifay (Fla) Holmes County|
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