Notebook: Free throws nag Donovan


Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 12:06 a.m.

Florida coach Billy Donovan acknowledged Monday that's he's concerned with his team's recent free-throw shooting.

The Gators are shooting 70.5 percent from the line on the season and have missed a combined 21 free throws in their last two games.

"I really believe we should be better than 69 percent right now, whatever it is we're shooting, right around 70 percent," Donovan said.

Poor free throw shooting nearly cost Florida down the stretch against Kentucky. Florida made just three of its last 10 free throw attempts in regulation against the Wildcats, but responded to make all 10 of its free throw attempts in overtime.

"A lot of these guys haven't been in that situation before," Donovan said, referring to his team of mostly freshmen and sophomores. "Fatigue sometimes can play a little bit of a factor. I think the more they get thrown into those situations, the better they are going to be."

Freshman guard Nick Calathes, who missed four straight free throws in regulation before coming through with eight straight free throws in overtime, said he felt like he was thinking too much at the line late in regulation.

"My Dad told me after the game, just don't think about it," Calathes said. "You shot too many free throws to think about making or missing and what people are thinking. Just go out and shoot it."

Florida freshman forward Chandler Parsons said Donovan told the team to report 20 minutes early for practice and put up 50 to 100 extra free throws.

"We're a good shooting team," Parsons said. "So there's not really a good reason for us not to be making over 80 percent from the free throw line."

Lucas on mend

Florida freshman Jai Lucas (knee) did not practice Monday, but Donovan was hopeful that the 5-foot-11 guard will be available for Wednesday's game against South Carolina.

"They were worried a little bit about maybe a tear in his meniscus," Donovan said. "They donít think thatís the case. He didnít have any swelling, but he probably has some bruising on his bone. He hyper extended his knee."

Lucas suffered the injury after his knee knocked the court on the spill following a hard foul from Kentucky forward Perry Stevenson. Lucas checked out of the game at the time, but returned a few minutes later and finished the game playing 38 minutes. Afterwards, Donovan admitted he probably played Lucas too many minutes.

Donovan said he will likely have a better feel on whether Lucas can play following today's practice.

"Like all these guys, he only wants to play," Donovan said.

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