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March 29, 2013

Billy Donovan

Casey Prather

Mike Rosario


Florida – 62
Florida Gulf Coast - 50

THE MODERATOR:  We're joined now by Florida head coach Billy Donovan and student‑athletes Mike Rosario and Casey Prather.
COACH DONOVAN:  Obviously I know it's pretty late right now.  We have to come back here again at noon.  Why don't we open it up for questions.

Q.  Coach, can you share any of what your conversation with Coach Enfield was after the game.
COACH DONOVAN:  Just said congratulations, great game, and had a good year.

Q.  Casey, can you talk a little bit about your contribution tonight and also the bench in general, Frazier and Yeguete, as well?
CASEY PRATHER:  We wanted to come out and play with energy and help our team win.  I think we did a great job of doing it.

Q.  Billy, can you talk about your team's ability to kind of get second‑chance points and create turnovers and how that kept you in it for the first half when you guys weren't shooting as well?
COACH DONOVAN:  I felt like we really got a lot of good looks.  Obviously the focus was to go down inside to Murphy and Patric Young.  Those guys had really good looks inside.  I thought from the perimeter, I think Mike started off 0 for 5.  He had pretty good looks.  We couldn't get anything to fall for us.
Casey, when he came in the game, I thought did a great job getting on the glass.  Mike had a big offensive rebound in the second half.  But we found and manufactured different ways to score.
I thought for us, although I thought we had some good looks, the ball just didn't go in the basket.  I thought we defended really, really well.  And did a good job all the way around on their team.

Q.  From your point of view, could you just speak to the fortitude that you guys showed not to get riled when you went down, and what did you change in terms of getting the turnovers?  They pretty much protected the ball through their first two games, what did you change up to turn them over so much?
MIKE ROSARIO:  You know, at this point in time as a team you want to stay connected and stay locked in on the things that you can control.  I thought we did a great job of putting pressure and making those guys feel uncomfortable, trying to get the ball up‑court, trying to run their sets.
And I thought we did a great job on Comer, as well, keeping him out of the paint so much.  Because when he gets in there, he's effective, outside shooters, throwing lobs to the basket.  I thought we did a great job.

Q.  Mike, you had a nine‑point lead and then that in‑bounds pass.  You went for the dunk.  Not only does that give you 11‑point lead, it kind of embarrassed them at that point.  At that stage of the game how important was that particular play do you think in this game to keep that momentum on your side?
MIKE ROSARIO:  You know, after I made that play going into the timeout, you know, I just cold Coach, I took a gamble on that play.  I wanted to make a play for my teammates.  I felt that if he turns his back and no one is protecting our basket, I'm going to try to score.
I just felt that I made a play for my team at a crucial point in the game and I wanted to be aggressive.

Q.  Coach, do you want to close the book on the story for what Florida Gulf Coast did this year and what a danger they might be in the future?
COACH DONOVAN:  I said after the game, Andy, I think, has done a great job.  I think for whatever reason they felt like the two teams they played before they played us, they disrespected them.  I don't know how they know that or if that's true.  But certainly I think we went into the game with a lot of respect for them.
And obviously I think they lose Brown, who to me, is a real, real key piece to their team.  And they've got a lot of pieces back, but I often think that when you lose a player of the year guy like that, your team is going to be really different.
With Thompson on one wing and he on the other wing, those two guys are really, really good players.  And who fills his spot is probably never going to measure up to him.  And it's probably unfair to put somebody in that spot.
But certainly their big guys up front are very, very good players.  Comer is a very, very good assist guy and a very good passer.  I'm sure he'll probably take on some of the scoring responsibility next year.  Thompson being a young guy has a great future ahead of him.
So I think the biggest thing they'll deal with right now that they have never dealt with before, is they're going to get everybody's best shot every single night.  I believe this, through success there's a price to pay.  And it will be a different year for them all the way around and how well they can handle that will determine how successful they are.
But certainly for their League, for the state of Florida, what they did this year is terrific.  And I made the comment before we played them, I spoke to Andy in October and he told me he thought his team was really, really good.  And I was asked if I was surprised with their success and I wasn't.  I think anytime a coach comes out that strong that he has a good team, very good chance they're a very, very good team.

Q.  For both you guys, you guys have played this year on a battleship.  You played in an NCAA game where there were no fans in the stands to start the game.  You've seen just about everything there is.  How much did that help you tonight playing in an unusual arena with the crowd against you?
MIKE ROSARIO:  I feel like that just motivates us.  With the atmosphere like this, we have to come in just locked in on the things that we can control.  And stepping into a situation like this when we have everybody against us, we just got to block everything out and just stay connected.  That's the one thing that coach teaches to us in practice, even on the road when we have road games, just treat this like a road game.
And I thought that we did a great job of just being connected and blocking everything out and just focusing on the next play and just having trust in one another.
CASEY PRATHER:  Like Mike said, we did a great job staying connected as a team.  We really didn't get caught up into how many people were here and who they were rooting for.  We had to win the game.  Coach Donovan did a great job of teaching us that you can't get wrapped up in what's going on outside of the lines.  I think we did a great job coming together as a team.

Q.  Billy, can you talk about how important the foul shots were, the one and ones that Scottie was able to knock down for you in the final five, six minutes?
COACH DONOVAN:  I think they were important.  We really had an opportunity, I thought, to even stretch the lead out bigger than that.  Scottie knocked down I think four in a row.  And Pat missed the front end of a one and one.  There was a flagrant and Will Yeguete missed his.  Mike went to the free throw line and made one out of two.
We did leave some points out there.  But certainly Scottie's points there helped us.  Because I thought we had some pretty good possessions, and pretty decent looks, and the ball just didn't go down for us today.
And it was a good lesson for our guys.  Here's a team coming in here that said they really were not concerned about our defense at all, because of Georgetown and San Diego State.  And felt like they were going to score against us.
I thought the key tonight was we did a really, really good job on Comer.  We turned him over nine times.  In the first two games setting up these guys, he never got a chance to do that maybe at the level he did the last two games.
Offensively we struggled, but we found a way to manufacture points.  Murphy got a rebound, Scottie got fouled and got a couple of free throws, Mike's bizarre play on the sideline gave us a couple of extra points.  But in the flow of our offense, when we did get the ball where we needed to go, we really didn't make a lot of shots.

Q.  What did you see from your players in terms of demeanor when Florida Gulf Coast took that early lead on you?
COACH DONOVAN:  They were really good.  I think it was a ‑‑ it's a 40‑minute game, and we had talked about that coming into it, that there was going to be runs in the game.  They're that kind of team.  If you look at some of the runs they went on, to start the second half, in particular, against Georgetown and San Diego State, they were huge runs.
But I think our guys were just there.  I just kept telling those guys, as long as we're getting good looks, we'll be fine.  But we need to continue to defend.  And really, it was our defense that got us back in.
Frazier made back‑to‑back three‑point shots, Mike made a three‑point shot.  I'd never seen this on a stat sheet before, we took twice as many shots as they did.  They only got up 16 shots.  We got 32 shots.
Between the threes in the second half, the offensive rebounds enabled us to get back in the game and get the lead going into the locker room.

Q.  Can you just talk about getting back for the third straight year and what a struggle it is just to get back to that point where you're in the Elite 8?
COACH DONOVAN:  I've said this before, it's so hard just to win a tournament game, never mind advance.  I'm happy for Mike Rosario and Boynton and Erik Murphy, and even for the guys like Casey and Pat, and Scottie and Will.  But I'm proud of what they've been able to do up to this point in time.  And they've gotten better.
I think they've been committed to working and committed to trying to get better together, collectively.  I think we've made some strides and some growth each year.  So it's exciting this time of year to still be playing and still have an opportunity to play again on Sunday.

Q.  Boynton did the majority of the work on Comer.  Why was that and as you get ready to play Michigan and a great guard, will it be Boynton or will it be Scottie?
COACH DONOVAN:  Well, really, Scottie was the guy who was on him most of the time.  Scottie has been on some guys and he's done a good job.
But I don't know if our front court gets enough credit because in order to guard Comer you're going to have to do it with more than just Scottie.  Patric Young was really, really good today.  Even though he and Murphy struggled shooting the ball.  We got the ball to those guys, and most of the shots were inside.  They took 14 shots between them.  They were 4 for 14.
But the pick‑and‑roll coverage was good.  Scottie was on Comer.  He did a good job.  And I thought Patric in pick‑and‑roll action was really good.  We forced him away from the action.  We kept him out of the lane.  We took away a lot of the lob dunks.  We kind of closed down passing angles for him, which made it more difficult for him to do some of the things he's done in the last two games.

Q.  How key was the stretch where Casey came in off the bench and made some surge plays?  And then Frazier hit those two threes when you were spinning your wheels offensively?
COACH DONOVAN:  I think it was important.  The biggest thing that was important, at least looking at the stat sheet, was we had 10 offensive rebounds.  I think we punished them on the backboard.  We forced nine turnovers and we didn't really press very much.  Our half‑court defense was disruptive.  I think Comer had five in the first half.
As you mentioned, Casey getting a run‑out dunk.  Frazier knocks down a couple of threes.  We go on a mini run.  We basically get back into the game pretty good.
I think there maybe was a 7‑minute stretch we held them scoreless.  It would have been hard to get back into the game in the first half if we allowed them to score.  They shot a high percentage against us.  But it's misleading because they did have nine turnovers and we had ten offensive rebounds.
I actually thought the key in the game, in my opinion, was the way we started the second half.  I think we ran like six points off real quick and got a ten‑point or 11‑point lead pretty quickly.  And that was also important, I think, to start the second half.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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