Everything Todd Golden said after Florida’s heartbreaking loss to Colorado

The Florida Gators were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament following a 102-100 loss to Colorado in the first round on Friday evening. Here’s everything Head Coach Todd Golden had to say postgame.


TODD GOLDEN: “Incredibly proud of my team. I thought they’ve been great for us all year. Today was no different. Obviously we didn’t defend the way we needed to to give ourselves a great chance to win. But on the glass and offensively I thought we did a pretty good job most of the game, and proud of the way we responded going down 10 in the second half. We’re down 13 with 5:23 to go and like all year, this group stayed the course, stayed together, kept fighting. Found a way to tie that thing up late, and one possession away from getting that thing to overtime. Disappointed because this group had the ability to make a little bit of a run. We got a tough draw getting Colorado in this game. They’re 21st overall in KenPom. No other 10 seed is above 33rd. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. They’re a very good team. I expect them to play Marquette very well on Sunday.”

Q. When you guys rallied there at the end, what was the message to your guys and what do you feel like they did to tie it up? 

TODD GOLDEN: “Obviously we just got a little bit more aggressive defensively. I probably should have got us in that a little earlier. With that being said, I, again, thought they kept their composure really well. Even though we were down a little bit and we were struggling, our guys weren’t hanging their heads. They were staying positive and staying together. Obviously we pressured them. They were throwing the ball around a little bit. We hit some big shots. Did a good job attacking the rim, and obviously Walt hit a huge three to tie that thing up. Same story as all year, our team has been pretty resilient. For us to cut that thing and tie it being down 13, I’m really proud of the way we responded.”

Q. Walk us through what you saw on that final possession and how that unfolded for Colorado. 

TODD GOLDEN: “I saw them throw it in to Simpson, and I thought ZP did an incredible job staying down and staying between him and the basket, and Simpson somehow got about five feet of separation off ZP, and made a really tough skilled shot from the baseline. But again, I thought ZP did his job. Stayed in legal guarding position. Stayed between the ball and the basket, and again somehow Simpson just created about seven feet of separation to get that shot off.”

Q. Were you surprised how that unfolded, given how many fouls were called in the second half combined? 

TODD GOLDEN: “Not at all.”

Q. Why is that? 

TODD GOLDEN: “I just wasn’t surprised that that wasn’t called.”

Q. Todd, you’re not a coach that gets T’ed up much. What happened on that sequence and with the whistle, and how frustrating was that? 

TODD GOLDEN: “Yeah, just a confusing situation. A very delayed and-one call. Then explained that he tried to blow his whistle but his whistle wasn’t working but nobody saw him call a foul until about five seconds after the play. I wasn’t very happy about it. I thought it was a really — it’s never happened to me in my coaching career where somebody’s whistle doesn’t work, and then five seconds later we’re finding out that it’s an and-one, and then he asked me to get in the box, and I said I was in the box and then he gave me a technical. I’ve had three technicals in my coaching career. He has given me two of them.”

Q. Career-high 33 points from Walter tonight. What did you think about his performance, and how much can he be something to build on next year if he decides to come back? 

TODD GOLDEN: “Yeah, Walt is a fantastic player. Got a lot of heart, got a lot of belief. Along with these three up here, he believed the whole time that we could get back in the game. Did a great job attacking the rim late, obviously hit that big three to tie it up. He’s a stud, man. He’s a Gator. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Q. Obviously with everything that’s happened with this team, is this the closest team you’ve been a part of? How close really is this team?

TODD GOLDEN: “This team is fantastic that way. I feel like our team talent is just really good. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around a lot of teams that get along well. I thought my last team in San Francisco was great that way. We had great camaraderie, great togetherness, and this team has reminded me a lot of that group and the way they’re together. They don’t have to force it. They don’t have to manufacture it. These guys enjoy being around each other, and it’s part of why we’ve been so successful this year. So we’ll continue to — my hope is that it’ll continue to be that way as this group grows and as our program grows, but these guys have laid a great foundation for us that way for sure.”

Q. Alex did not play like a freshman tonight. Can you explain his feelings about his play tonight, especially in his matchup with Eddie?

TODD GOLDEN: “He’s been huge for us all year. He’s come off the bench, but he along with Tommy, have been right there with Reese and Micah as super important players for us, especially in the front court. Obviously kind of thrust into a tough situation getting his first start in an NCAA Tournament game, but we knew and I think these guys would agree that he’d be ready to compete and ready to fight. It’s one of his best qualities as a player. He fouled out, but six points, seven rebounds, six assists, only one turnover, I thought he did a good job out there super old fifth-year senior in Lampkin, who’s a super good player.”

Q. Just watching this team battle back like they have in times past, how much did you just think, oh, we’ve got this, and then walking off the floor, how much of a building block can this still be as you move forward? 

TODD GOLDEN: “Yeah, along with these guys, I always believed we had a chance. It wasn’t looking great for a while, but once we pressured them a little bit and they started throwing it around, I felt like if we could make some shots, we’d give ourselves a chance. Again, we did what we needed to do obviously to tie the game and I thought we had a pretty good defensive possession on the last possession, and it just didn’t go our way. Really proud of where this program is right now, the way this team has played all year, 24 wins in our league is really hard to do. We obviously had 14 league wins, if you combine the regular season and the SEC tournament, and that’s something to be super proud of. And like Tyrese said, my hope is that this will be a building block for the program. We’re going to miss ZP and Tyrese a lot. They’re going to be hard to replace. But the goal is that these younger guys will continue to grow and get better, and we’ll find guys that are the right fit with great attitudes and great work ethics and really will want to be Gators. We’ll continue to build it that way because it’s what I believe in and it’s worked for us. A good building block season for us, and our hope is to continue to raise the bar as we move forward.”



Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.