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March 11, 2010

Billy Donovan

Chandler Parsons

Alex Tyus


Florida – 78
Auburn - 69

THE MODERATOR: We're ready to continue on with Florida. We'll ask Coach Donovan for his thoughts on the game. And we'll take your questions just for the two student-athletes and then excuse them back to the locker room and finish up with Coach Donovan. Coach, if you'd begin.
COACH DONOVAN: I think that Jeff's teams are really, really hard to play against. And I made the comment yesterday that them and Kentucky are the only two teams in the league in the second half to be leading against everybody.
We obviously had a nine-point lead, and they made a great run at us. But I thought a huge factor in the game and a huge key going into the game was going to be our ability to guard them from the three-point line. I think, when you extend like that with their speed and quickness, you're going to get beat off the dribble and go at some drives. But I thought we did as good a job as we could have done guarding the three.
And they put a lot of pressure on Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, and they freed up Alex and Chandler to have good games, and both guys played very well.
I thought at different points in the game they did a great job making runs, and our guys were able to respond at different points in time in the first half and the second half. You know, we weathered some storms, and we were able to keep our lead really for the whole game.
So it was a great win. I know these guys are excited to play again tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take your questions for either of the student-athletes.

Q. Chandler, they had three runs, I think, of 7-0 or 8-0, and you scored each time to end that run. Can you just talk about how important that was to not let them really get going offensively.
CHANDLER PARSONS: Right. Auburn's a tough team, and we knew they weren't going to come in here and lay down. I think it shows we're a tough time because we weathered some storms when they went on runs, and we didn't hang our head. We kept battling and fighting. Our guards did a great job, and I was fortunate enough to knock some shots down.

Q. Question for Alex. Just how much did the early dunks and being able to score on pick and rolls kind of energize you tonight?
ALEX TYUS: I think it really helped our team out a lot just to -- our players really do a good job at finding me and finding everybody else. I thin that was the main key coming into the game is getting easy baskets as a team on offense.

Q. Alex, can you talk about how well the pick and roll worked tonight. It just seemed like, when you guys needed a basket, you went to it -- in fact, it looked like on one of the dunks, did you hurt your hand?
ALEX TYUS: No, my hand's fine. It might have been my elbow. I was just joking.
I think that we really did a good job just exposing what they were doing on defense. But we're really excited to get the win, and we're just looking really forward to Mississippi State.

Q. Just a question for Chandler. How do you feel about playing Mississippi State again, particularly maybe the success you had the first time and the success you guys had going after Renardo?
CHANDLER PARSONS: They're a tough team. They're a really good team. Obviously, they watched our game tonight. We're just going to have to get back to the hotel and get some rest. We know it's going to be a tough challenge, but we're up for it. We know what Renardo is capable of doing. The big thing for us is to keep defending and doing the physical plays, and offense will come.
THE MODERATOR: We'll excuse you. We'll continue on here with Coach Donovan. If you'll raise your hand.

Q. Billy, talk about the spacing tonight and how important that was. You know, the guys in the locker room said that you all had spent the last two days just working especially on getting better spacing and getting so your guys in the lane would be able to get free.
COACH DONOVAN: You know, I think one area, because we do have young guards, those guys are learning, and I think Erving's learning it at a different rate than maybe he even thought possible.
Because, you know, he's not able to play like he did in high school. You know, in high school he could do a lot of different things with the ball. He was always the fastest guy, and he had obviously deep range.
And I thought that Auburn did a great job on him defensively just getting up after him. You know, he had six assists and zero turnovers, and I thought he played within himself. Or he had one turnover.
And the same thing with Kenny Boynton. Both of those two guys, I think, combined at the half had two points, and we were still up nine.
I think one of the things I've tried to focus on with those guys is we haven't shot the ball great. We've been a team that's been up and down shooting the ball. Was just to try to create more ball movement and player movement, passing. Not that we changed anything offensively, but just trying to work on understanding what defenses are doing.
It's not something that's been a revelation for us now, but I think as you play more and more games, they start to see things maybe a little bit clearer. Really, we did spend the last three days just talking about our ball movement and player movement and really putting a focus on that.
I thought in the first half there was some times we had some great ball movement. We worked inside to out. I thought Vernon and Alex got off to a very, very good start in the game, and I thought Chandler played well. I thought those three guys offensively were the recipient, the product of some drives, some extra passes, and some good ball movement which led to easier baskets.

Q. Billy, Auburn cuts it to 42-41, and Kenny, I guess, is at the point, and he hits those big threes. Does he just feel a little bit more comfortable up there now running the point?
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, you know, I'm really impressed with him because I don't think he really had an opportunity to really do much of that in high school.
So most of the time when I watched him play in high school, he was always off the ball. And certainly had a huge reputation as being a prolific scorer, but there's a lot more to his game.
And I do think at times we can get Erving Walker off the ball and really utilize Chandler and Kenny back there some too.
But Erving is a dangerous guy when he's on the floor because he stretches the defense. And when you have him out there, he also can kind of initiate and get us into offense although he can't score sometimes.
I think Kenny up top there has done a really nice job the last couple of games at the point. I think we'll try to use him there and he'll continue to develop up there. And we've also used Chandler there sometimes as well.
But it was good to see Kenny really get out of the flow of the game on offense in the first half because of fouls and then find some ways to create some opportunities for himself to knock down some threes, which really came at some crucial times for us.

Q. Billy, just what do you remember of the Mississippi State game last month, and what kind of challenge does Mississippi State present?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think any time you're in this league and you're playing at home, you always have an advantage playing at home, and it was a home game for us.
You know, a team that really has great speed, great athleticism, they really stretch you on defense because they do shoot the three from four different positions. Then they have a guy that they can throw it inside to Renardo.
So similar to Auburn in the fact that there's some similarities offensively in what both teams do in terms of trying to take advantage of the three, but they have the all-time shot blocker in NCAA history on the back line. So they present some different problems defensively for us.
But they're a good team. They've got a great point guard in Bost. Stewart's a terrific shooter. Augustus shoots it. You know, Turner comes off the bench. They just -- they're a very, very unique team because they change their lineups in the middle of the game, and they play four guards. And then sometimes they go a little bit bigger and play Augustus at the four and Renardo at the five.
They're a hard team to guard and a hard team to prepare for in one day.

Q. Billy, you held Tay Waller to no points, and they were 4 for 25 from the three-point line. How much emphasis had you gone into defending the perimeter? And in particular, defending Waller because he was their streakiest shooter.
COACH DONOVAN: We put a lot of time into that. I would say probably Jeff put an equally same amount of time into probably doing what he did to Erving Walker. And Waller had a couple of good looks that he just didn't make.
I think with a shooting team, if you can try to disrupt their flow a little earlier in the game and you can disrupt some threes from going in early, sometimes you have a better chance of stopping it.
But Waller the last five games has been by far the best three-point shooter in the league if you look at the numbers. In five games, he was like 17 for 24 from the three-point line. So he concerned a lot of people over the last five games.
And I thought our guys did a pretty good job switching out on him and trying to take away his threes. And we tried to make him take some shots maybe out of rhythm.
And he is a guy that really makes difficult shots, so I can't sit there and say that his 0 for 6 was entirely because of us, but I would say that we may be limited his number of attempts.
And I give him a lot of credit as a senior not forcing the action. Just as I would give Erving Walker a lot of credit in the fact that Erving didn't take very many shots tonight. He didn't force the action.
And we had made a decision we were really going to try to take him away, and it probably opened up an opportunity for Sullivan and some other guys to have bigger games. But with the way he was shooting the basketball, he's so dangerous because, when he's shooting it like that, they've got Reed and Sullivan and Hargrove, and it adds a totally different dimension to their team. We were probably really fortunate that he didn't shoot it as well as he had the last five games.

Q. Billy, with about three seconds left, you gave Larry a nice hug. Was this game more emotional maybe just because of all the stuff in the periphery than just a normal game?
COACH DONOVAN: No, I felt bad because I was screaming at him on the scouting report because we were up by 13 coming out of a time-out, and we didn't guard their underneath out of bounds very well, and we gave up a three to Sullivan. That's when our run started, and our 13-point lead, I think, went down to 4.
I was more apologizing to an older gentleman for getting upset with him more than it was about being emotional. He did such a great job and worked so hard the last three or four days, and the guy got everything right. We're coming off a time-out with an open three which we probably shouldn't have given up. We didn't do as good a job as a staff preparing our guys for that situation.
So I gave it to him a little bit, and I was just apologizing to him after.

Q. Billy, can you talk about using Boynton a little bit more on the ball throughout the game, particularly down the stretch and just how he responded to that.
COACH DONOVAN: I mean, we've got to think three guys that are interchanged -- I think I've said this to you before, Kevin.
A lot of times, because a guy brings the ball up the floor does not necessarily mean that he's the point guard. I mean, for us, the way we play, we try to in the first half get the ball in Chandler's hands so he can drive the ball to the basket. There was times that we initiated the ball to our fours and fives.
So although Erving Walker brings the ball across half-court, he's doing that and he's throwing the ball to somebody, and that person is really starting our offense. So I think conventionally people say, well, the point guard is the guy that throws the ball across half-court. That's not that hard to do and throw the ball to somebody.
So I don't think it's really for us that big of a deal who's at the point. A lot of times what we're trying to do is at the end of clock situations, get the ball in certain guys' hands based on matchups. We tried to on pick and roll action tonight really sprint out from helps -- where we were trying to sprint out from sides of the floor where there was help. So we were sprinting guys out from the weak side into pick and rolls because a lot of their bigs were providing such great low post help defense that we were utilizing those guys as screeners, which allowed some of those guys to make plays.
So certainly when Erving's out of the game, Kenny brings the ball up the floor, and he can, quote, unquote, be the point guard. But when Kenny, Chandler, and Erving are in the game together, there's so many different things to initiate an offense, that that really doesn't make that big of a difference for us.

End of FastScripts

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