Off-balanced effort


Published: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 1:46 a.m.
Enlarge |

Florida's Corey Brewer is tied up under the hoop by Tennessee's Andre Patterson at the O'Connell Center on Wednesday.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
It was all set up for a 4-0 conference start. The surprise return of Matt Walsh. A desperation 3-pointer by Anthony Roberson that sent the game into overtime.
Only the Tennessee Volunteers had other ideas Wednesday.
C.J. Watson broke a 76-76 tie with a turn-around 15-foot jumper with 1:43 remaining as Tennessee handed Florida its first conference loss of the season, 83-76, before a season-high 11,545 at the O'Connell Center.
"Tennessee played better than us," said Roberson, who scored a team-high 26 points. "It comes down to execution and we didn't execute well enough on offense or defense."
Florida (11-4, 3-1 SEC) rallied from a 10-point deficit with 6:02 remaining to tie it on a wild off-balance 3-pointer by Roberson over two defenders with 7.8 seconds remaining. Roberson took nearly the identical shot attempt with Florida down 79-76 in overtime with 15.3 seconds left, but the ball clanged the back of the iron. Scooter McFadgon grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Al Horford.
McFadgon, an 81.5 percent free throw shooter, made all four free throws in the final 13.2 seconds to clinch the game.
Tennessee, which lost by 38 at the O'Connell Center a season ago, picked up its second conference road win of the season after going 0-8 on the road in the SEC last year.
"To come back and get a win after the way we played here last year is huge for us," McFadgon said.
For Florida, off-balance not only described Roberson's late shot attempts, but the Florida offense as well. Roberson's 26 points came on 26 shot attempts, and he was 5-for-18 from 3-point range. Senior forward David Lee was the only other Florida player to reach double-figures with 11 points, nine coming from the free-throw line. Lee took just three attempts.
"We were an unbalanced team tonight," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "In the first half we were very individualized. We were a one-dimensional team, and it was evident by our inability to get enough touches and enough scoring inside."
Roberson's 18 3-point attempts broke a school record for attempts he set last year (16) against Alabama. He was coming off back-to-back 30-point games that earned him SEC Player of the Week honors.
"I'm a shooter," Roberson said. "That's part of a shooter's mentality. When you miss the last one, you have to forget about it."
Roberson said his last 3-point attempt, "Felt good going off my hands. They all do. Whenever a situation like that comes up I'm always willing to take the challenge. It just didn't fall."
"I would have liked to have seen him drive in for a two and maybe get fouled in that situation," Donovan said. "I thought we did a good job extending the game at the end of regulation, but a bad job of shortening the game in overtime."
Tennessee (10-7, 3-2 SEC) had better balance, getting 23 points from McFadgon, 22 from freshman Chris Lofton and 18 from senior center Brandon Crump. Lofton hit two of his six 3-pointers in overtime.
Walsh, who was due out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, came back 15 days after the diagnosis of a tear of a ligament in his left ankle. He played 10 of his 13 minutes in the first half and finished with 6 points, two assists and three turnovers.
Walsh was cleared to practice Tuesday after taking part in individual drills with the team Friday and Monday.
"I have no concerns," Walsh said. "The ankle feels great. I was able to go full speed in practice."
With and without Walsh in the lineup, Florida looked out of sync offensively in the first half. Florida scored just three points in the first six minutes in the game and committed 11 first half-turnovers.
The return of Walsh may have contributed as Florida shuttled players in and out frequently in order to find the right balance on the floor.
"It's a legitimate question and a legitimate concern," Donovan said. "There are a lot of factors, complacency being one of them. There were a lot of things that Matt had to overcome to be back. I felt like I wanted to give him a little bit of a taste because our next game is six days from now against Georgia."
Donovan also took some of the blame for his team's defense in the second half, in which Florida allowed Tennessee to shoot 52.8 percent from the floor.
"As a staff, we probably didn't prepare them well enough with our scouting reports to factor in their shooters and their inside players," Donovan said.
Through all the first-half mistakes, Florida stayed in the game by dominating the boards, out-rebounding Tennessee 21-10. Lee and Horford each finished with 13 rebounds.
There were 13 first-half lead changes. Florida led 30-29 at halftime when Walsh hit his second 3-pointer of the game with 32.8 seconds to go.
"It was a miracle that we were up by one at halftime," Donovan said.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top