Notebook: UF thriving on short rest
Published: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 9:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 9:31 p.m.
Earlier in the week, Florida coach Billy Donovan questioned the balance of Thursday-Saturday games throughout the Southeastern Conference.
But the No. 14 Gators once again proved their resilience on one-day turnarounds. Florida improved to 11-1 in Thursday-Saturday games since 2010 with its 69-57 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.
“Most guys like playing,” Donovan said. “Probably the happiest day of their life was (Friday) because they knew they weren’t going to practice hard because we needed to keep them fresh.”
Donovan then gave credit to his team for having the mental focus to be able to absorb the scouting report in a short period of time.
“We’ve had teams that can really focus in pretty well,” Donovan said.
Florida had some issues returning from its 64-60 win at Ole Miss on Thursday night. Due to bad weather in Oxford, Miss., their team charter could not take off. Instead, Florida had to take a 45-minute bus ride to Tupelo, Miss., then wait another 45 minutes on the tarmac to take off due to air control issues. By the time Florida returned to Gainesville, it was 1:15 a.m.
Still, Florida played with more energy than Mississippi State down the stretch. The Gators pressed at times during the game and scored 13 points off 14 Mississippi State turnovers.
“The coaches just prepare us well,” Florida senior point guard Erving Walker said. “We’re young kids. We shouldn’t be worn down with a day of rest. We had a day of rest and we were ready to go. We like to play.”
Donovan and Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings have both questioned the fairness of the SEC schedule, noting that Kentucky has no Thursday-Saturday turnarounds this season.
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury acknowledged the Thursday-Saturday turnarounds are tough, but said it’s a little easier when you are coming home on Saturday after playing on the road Thursday.
“As coaches, none of us like it,” Stansbury said. “But it’s part of it and most of us in the league have to do it.”
Florida showed its ability on defense, taking five charges against Mississippi State on Saturday afteroon.
Mike Rosario and Scottie Wilbekin each took a charge. Will Yeguete also drew a charge and Patric Young had a pair of charges.
Two charges were whistled against Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie, who had four fouls in 36 minutes but still finished with a double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds).
“If you are not a shot-blocking team, and we’re not, you’ve got to put your body in the play and take some charges,” Donovan said. “Those were big plays because those are five turnovers that you are getting, just on charges.”
With the win, Florida improved to 2-2 against ranked teams. … Florida improved to 4-0 with the starting lineup of Yeguete-Erik Murphy-Bradley Beal-Walker-and Kenny Boynton. … Florida’s bench outscored Mississippi State’s bench 20-10.