Notebook: Great Danes put clamps on Frazier

Florida guard Michael Frazier II (20) tips the ball away from Albany guard Peter Hooley (12) during the Gators' 67-65 win in second round of the NCAA tournament at the Amway Center on Thursday in Orlando.

Matt Stamey / Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 10:36 p.m.

ORLANDO — Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II was at a loss to explain why he couldn't get more involved offensively during UF's 67-55 NCAA Tournament win over Albany.


Saturday's game

Who: No. 1 seed Florida Gators (33-2) vs. No. 9 seed Pittsburgh Panthers (26-9)
When: TBA
Where: Amway Center, Orlando
Radio: AM-850, 103.7 FM

Frazier finished with just three points on 1-of-5 shooting against the Great Danes.

“We just didn't run our offense the right way,” Frazier said. “All and all we didn't really execute on the offensive end. We have to do a better job of that going forward.”

Frazier, the Southeastern Conference's leading 3-point shooter at 45.5 percent, had just one 3-point shot attempt in the first half and it came when he was blanketed by two Albany defenders. Albany threw a mix of defenses at Florida, designed to challenge both Frazier and Florida senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the perimeter.

“They were throwing a triangle and two a little bit on me and Mike, just trying to throw us out of whack,” Wilbekin said. “Maybe that was why we were out of sync.”

Albany coach Will Brown sacrificed points inside to overplay the 3-point line. It was a similar strategy that Butler coach Brad Stevens used three years ago to beat the Gators in overtime in the Elite Eight.

Brown made his players well-aware of Frazier in the scouting report.

“We had all sorts of names for him: Ray Allen, Jesus Shuttlesworth,” Brown said. “He has the smoothest stroke since Ray Allen. We were determined not to give him a free look.”

Florida finished 3-of-12 from 3-point range, its worst shooting game since going 3-of-13 in a 69-59 win over Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Feb. 15.

Frazier took some personal accountability for his quiet day from the field.

“I probably could have moved better,” Frazier said. “I should have moved better, ran better. So I'll do better the next game.”

Donovan Naismith Finalist

Earlier on Thursday, Florida coach Billy Donovan was named as one of five finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year.

Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, Southern Methodist's Larry Brown, Michigan's John Beilein and Virginia's Tony Bennett also were named to the final list of the award given to the best college basketball coach in the country.

Donovan was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in the past four seasons after guiding the Gators (34-2) to a 21-0 mark in league play. Florida is the first team since Kentucky in 2010 to win both the SEC regular-season title and SEC tournament crown.

Donovan: Magic long time ago

Donovan also was back in the building where he could have coached in the NBA with the Orlando Magic. In 2007, Donovan accepted the Orlando Magic job on June 1 before changing his mind and returning to the Gators.

“For me, it seems like a long time ago,” Donovan said. “I've got great respect for the Magic and for this organization and the people running it. I'm excited to be back at Florida.”

With the win against Albany, Donovan improved to 2-1 at Amway Center. Donovan earned his 400th career win at Amway Center when Florida beat Stetson 96-70 on Nov. 28, 2011 in the Florida Citrus Classic.

“We're certainly happy that we can stay in the state of Florida and the city of Orlando to play in the tournament,” Donovan said. “But for me, I think that's over and done with and I've kind of moved on from it, and I also understand that sometimes those questions are going to come up and now and then.”


Florida assistant coach Matt McCall said he has not been contacted about the vacant coaching position at Florida Atlantic. McCall was an assistant at FAU from 2008-11 under recently fired head coach Mike Jarvis. … Florida senior center Patric Young's double-double was his first this season and the 11th in his career. … With the win, Florida improved to 36-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament (.720) and 32-11 under Donovan. … Florida seniors Young, Wilbekin, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete notched their 117th career victory, matching the most for any senior class in UF history.

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