Mississippi State notes: Late clock management


For as dramatic as Florida’s double-overtime win was against Georgia, it underscored an issue that popped up earlier this season in an overtime win at Tennessee.

UF’s inability to close out a game in regulation on the road.

Against Tennessee, Florida couldn’t hold a four-point lead with four minutes left, scoring just two field goals in the final 4:11. Against Georgia, Florida couldn’t hold an eight-point lead in the final three minutes, going the final 3:08 without a field goal.

In the Georgia game, with Florida up six points, Kenny Boynton missed a shot 16 seconds in the shot clock with 2:31 remaining. Later, with Florida up four points, Erving Walker missed a 3-point attempt 23 seconds into the shot clock with 1:05 left.

Could chewing up some of those extra 31 seconds on the shot clock resulted in one or two less Georgia possessions? Florida coach Billy Donovan said it’s a tricky balancing act trying to run more clock in late-game situations.

Donovan pointed to Walker’s turnover with 1:38 left as an example. Georgia junior guard Dustin Ware stripped the ball from Walker and was fouled as he drove for a breakaway layup attempt. Ware made both free throws to cut Florida’s lead to 72-68.

“I think you have to maintain a little bit of aggressiveness,” Donovan said. “We ended up being up six (72-66) with two minutes to go and we utilized some clock, and we took off 25 to 30 seconds and we turned the ball over.

“I believe there is a point in the game where you certainly have to look at the clock. Two minutes to go in a two possession game, you have to maintain a level of aggressiveness because there’s enough possessions, there’s probably going to be another eight possessions in that game.”

Of course, Walker leaving three points on the table hurt as well. Walker missed the front end of a one-and-one with Florida up 72-68 and 35.1 seconds left, then later made just one of two free throws with 20.1 seconds remaining to extend UF’s slim lead to 73-71.

Still, Donovan said he wants his players to remain aggressive in late-game situations.

“There is a balance and a fine line there,” Donovan said. “I’d rather our guys maintain a level of aggressiveness, us being aggressive rather trying to passively hold on. You have to make some plays.”

Other notes:

— Senior Chandler Parsons has improved his rebounding ability in each of his four years on campus. As a freshman, Parsons averaged 4.0 rebounds per game. Parsons followed that by averaging 5.7 rpg as a sophomore and 6.8 rpg as a junior.

This season, Parsons is averaging 7.2 rpg per game, which ranks 13th in the SEC. Parsons is averaging 13.5 rebounds over his last two games.

Parsons said his improved rebounding has partly come from being stronger and smarter around the basket.

“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Parsons said. “I think it’s being more physical. I think rebounding is all about effort. I think it’s me wanting to get rebounds, it’s about me going to the offensive glass, making my guy miserable every play trying to block me out. It’s not like the ball is bouncing to me more. I’m definitely working for it.”

— Walker said he has no explanation why his free-throw percentage has been lower this season (75.4 percent) than his career percentage (80.2) as a freshman and a sophomore.

“I really don’t know,” Walker said. “Just something that is, I would say. It’s just focusing in. I should be alright with that.”

Walker said he doesn’t plan on taking any extra free-throws before Saturday’s game at Mississippi State. “Just my regular routine, ” Walker said. “We shoot them a lot in practice. Individually, they make us shoot them so I’m just keeping it up.”


  1. You media types…why look at a great win for the Gators as a great win when you can complain about little things. Florida won both games, against very good teams, on the road. Why not congratulate them instead of nit-picking

  2. You describe basic fundamentals as if they are a question. Winning close games requires not turning the ball over, using the clock against your opponent, and MAKING free throws at the end of the game. There is a big burden in this regard on all point guards. It’s part of the role. UF has to get better at this to get better as a team. The shots at the end of the game early in the shot clock (you forgot to mention Walker’s missing 3 with UF up 1 in the first overtime against UGA) are mistakes that need to be cleaned up.

  3. ALC,

    Did you even read Donovan’s comment??? A normally aggressive offense should not suddenly get conservative when the game is on the line. He gave the example of the possession where holding the ball resulted in a turnover. I don’t know what your basketball qualifications are, but if Donovan says it’s not clear cut that running clock is the right move at that point in the game, I’m going to go with him on this one. I cringed when those shots were taken too, but then again, if they go in, game over. Those are shots that both Walker and Boynton make more than they miss.

    Do you really want Walker to pass up a wide open 3 just to run a few more seconds off the clock?

  4. The positive side of the Gators two OT wins is that they have been a deeper team than their two opponents. Billy has had the luxury of liberal substitution at every position to keep the starters fresh. That was graphically illustrated Tuesday when the Gators blew out the Dawgs in the second OT.

  5. SB, good point on Boynton and exactly my point about the Georgia game.

    I am with Donovan on the staying aggressive. Go with what worked to get you to the point where you have a lead. I hate slow-down offensive possessions mostly because it takes the team in control (has the lead and the ball) and has them play a different style of ball. Instead, just run your offense but look for a good shot. If it falls, good. If not, OK, play some D. Playing not to lose always makes me nervous in BB or Football for that matter.

  6. seen to often. 1:12 gameclock. Ga defense collapsed left side. Ball passed to Parsons alone at right 3-pt line,13 secs shot clock. With quick 1-step dribble
    Parsons could be 5-ft from rim/backboard before confronted by defenders…
    shoot 5-ft bankshot:: [1] UF 2-pts [2] miss with 75% chance Gator backside putback UF 2-pts +? probly foul shot UF 3-pts [3] miss & GA rebound with 10 extra secs left for both teams to manipulate.

  7. Forgive my double dribble here. I love my Gators. I just worry for them.
    Please hard-practice driving in when can force a situ that favors ball-
    handler along with his aware backside teammates. And practice again & again
    kissing it off the backboard precisely…..view video of UCLA national champ
    game by Bill Walton……something like 20 fg made out of 24 attemps.

  8. What Donovan says, and what he seems to coach differ. I was irritated at the GA game (b/c I’ve seen them do it too many times) that the Gators seemed to be running clock with 4 minutes left in the game. If we were good at this, I would not mind them doing that. However, the Gators have been terrible since Calathes left at running clock and actually getting a good shot up, if any shot at all.
    Keep playing your offense they way you know how. Walker is not a point guard that creates much for others, so we struggle in those situations.
    I agree: Boynton should have the ball in his hands at the end. Walker is the better spot up shooter, and Boynton the better FT shooter.

  9. Will be an interesting back court next year with Beal and Rosario added to the mix. Don’t know much about the point skills of either player, but we could end up with 4 “shooting” guards and no true point. I’m sure Donovan will find a way to make it work and it could be a fun ride!

  10. Clearly Kevin is trying to generate discussion as to why Billy allows Erving to play the way he does and he is using the late game situations for the talking points. There is no explanation for why Billy allows Erving to continually play selfishly. Most of you may not see it but those who understand the game (including Kevin Brockway) do and it is obvious. The truth is, I’m not sure we’ll ever know. The 04’s won 2 titles by playing unselfishly. BD clearly couldn’t stand Calathes who set UF assist records. Yet, he allows Erv and KB to continuously take bad shots and make poor decisions with no consequences.
    As for next year, if things don’t change and KB and Erv stay, I think there is trouble on the horizon.

  11. The fact that Donovan allows these guy to play the way they play shows that their is little development. Walker and Boynton are the same players they were when they can in. I agree with diddy, there is trouble brewing.