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March 17, 2011

Kenny Boynton

Billy Donovan

Chandler Parsons

Erving Walker


Florida – 79
UC Santa Barbara - 51

COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think as I said, you know, yesterday, this is a team that was playing really, really well, and I think at a high level when you look at their stats. I thought we came out and we played well in the first half. I thought we had a lot of balance.
I think Chandler got us going. He made two threes. I thought Erving and Junior then later on connected on some threes, and we were able to get some stops early in the game which kind of got us out on the break. And we were really able to kind of extend our lead, but really our offense was good, but I really thought we did a nice job defensively.
Johnson is a hard guy to guard and he got his 21, but I thought we made him work for it. I thought we tried to eliminate some of his threes, and I thought in the first half we did a pretty good job trapping him and getting the ball out of his hands.
And obviously Kenny has done a great job all year long defensively on different players, and he really worked hard at it not only on the perimeter but in the post.
You know, Chandler got us going in terms of his ball movement, eight assists in the first half. I thought he was really unselfish, a lot of great things. Erving obviously shot the ball very well and was able to get into the seams. But it was really for I think for us the first half was a half where we could -- got stops, got out on the break, and then I was not pleased with the first two possessions. They scored five points, a three and a quick two, but we rebounded and played pretty well the second half. And some of these guys were able to rest and we were able to get some of the younger guys some minutes there at the end.

Q. How nice was it for you and Kenny to get your shooting touch back, the scoring touch back after Kentucky? And do you think when you're going you guys are hard to beat?
ERVING WALKER: It always feels good to hit shots, but like coach said we focused on defense. We just want to take good shots. We know it's not going to go in every night, but as long as we play good defense we'll always be in the game.

Q. Kenny and Chandler, can you talk about the defense and what you were trying to do? The only way they could really make it competitive was to be hitting a lot of shots and you were able to take 18 points and the 10 turnovers especially how important they were.
KENNY BOYNTON: Coming into the game our focus was to make Johnson take tough shots, and basically that's what I tried to do. I think as a team, my team helped me out at lot. When he drove they contested his shots, and we wanted him to take tough twos. But I think overall we had a great defensive effort tonight.
CHANDLER PARSONS: Yeah, I think Johnson and Nunnally, those are two great players. They can definitely play in our league. Going into the game, we knew that they're capable of going off and being very explosive scorers. I think we did a really good job following the scouting report, knowing what they were going to run and their actions. And I think KB and our guys did a good job on Johnson not giving him easy looks.

Q. Chandler, just talk about what it means to finally get a taste of NCAA Tournament victory. It's been a long wait for you guys.
CHANDLER PARSONS: You know, it feels good. This is our first one, and no one on our team has ever got one, so it feels good to get one. But we're not satisfied. We don't just want to come here and win one game. We want to make some noise. And it feels good right now and we're going to celebrate, but we can't get too happy because we're on a mission and we've got another game coming up here Saturday. So we've just got to get ready for that, but it definitely does feel good.

Q. Kenny, would you talk about as far as first halves go, how would this rate with best first halves that y'all had all season as far as both offense and defense together?
KENNY BOYNTON: I think this is definitely one of our best first halves. I think after the Kentucky game, we wanted to come out and start the game off with good team chemistry, and I think in the first half we moved the ball well and we got good shots and we hit open guys. I think we worked inside and out, and I think on defense we also did a great job making it tough for those guys to try to score.

Q. Erving, how much did you need maybe a win like this, one that was clearer and not close, after the Kentucky game? How much of a confidence boost was this for you guys?
ERVING WALKER: This is huge, just for us to come out and get the loss out of our brains. But I mean, we just wanted to come out here and play hard, and this should lead us into either Michigan State or UCLA.

Q. Chandler, if you had to put a number on it, how many times over the last few years have you heard how long it's been since you guys won a tournament game?
CHANDLER PARSONS: Honestly, not that many. We obviously have heard it before, but you know, we just -- I think we got a taste of it last year getting to it. And like I said, I think our team became very hungry just getting there last year and not being able to get the win in such a close game in double overtime. You definitely hear it like that, but I think our team has done a great job all year long of blocking out distractions and things like that.

Q. A lot of talk over the week about the 2 seed. I wonder if you see this as kind of a statement game or if you came in with a little anger considering what was said during the week.
KENNY BOYNTON: I think we just came out and we wanted to focus on winning. We wanted to block out what everybody was saying. We heard people saying we were going to get upset; we heard people saying we were going to win. We just wanted to come out and play our best game on the offensive end and the defensive end.

Q. Chandler, once you got going early on was it hard or easy to stick to the game plan that you guys had worked on all week leading up to this particular opponent?
CHANDLER PARSONS: It was definitely important to get off to a good start, and my guards really found me and I was fortunate enough to knock down some shots early and we just kept moving the ball great in the first half. I think we had 15 assists in the first half, which is really good. I think we just wanted to keep pushing the ball and play smart and limit too many turnovers and things that we could control and keep playing unselfish like we have all season long.

Q. Question for Chandler: What did you see in your team tonight that makes you think you guys could play this way against better competition going forward?
CHANDLER PARSONS: We didn't stop. Once we were playing well, once we were hitting shots, playing unselfish, we just kept going. We didn't let up, we didn't let them come back in the game and we kept our foot on the gas, and that's something we needed to have is that killer instinct. When we get leads on teams, we can't afford to let them come back. We have to keep playing for 40 minutes.

Q. Something you guys haven't always been that good at, how did you guys not only keep a lead tonight but extend it in this game?
ERVING WALKER: I would say just focusing and listening to coach because we knew it was one and done from here on out, and this should just lead us into Saturday and we just wanted to stay focused and be aggressive.

Q. Chandler, did you realize how close you were to a triple-double, and did you want to stay in and try to get those last few rebounds?
CHANDLER PARSONS: Yeah, I saw it. People were talking about it close to the end of the game, but I think it was more important for our guys to get rest than me to do something like that. But they were definitely talking about it. But it really doesn't matter to me. The win is much more important than anything I can do.

Q. Erving, you guys have been pretty resilient all year, you lose a game and you typically come back strong after a loss. Did that weigh into your thoughts at all coming into this game?
ERVING WALKER: We really wasn't even thinking about the loss coming into this game. This is a whole new season. We just, like I said, wanted to come out focused and work hard and play hard, and I think we did a good job of that tonight.

Q. You preach defense to these guys, and it took them a while to buy in. When you see a half like that the first half, that has to make you feel good. Can you talk about the way you defended in the first half?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, their numbers in their three games in the conference tournament were really staggering. I mean, you shoot those numbers against nobody playing defense against you and five on no offense, it's pretty good. You shoot almost 53 percent from the three-point line in three games and about 50 percent from the field and I think 75 percent from the free-throw line.
I mean, there was a high level of respect that we got across to our guys about how well they were playing. They maybe had some ups and downs during the year, but Bob I think probably did a great job keeping them together, and they were playing their best basketball in their conference tournament.
And I just really felt like watching them on film that Nunnally and Johnson create so many problems because both guys can post-up. Nunnally not so much as Johnson, but Johnson is a hard guy because they space the floor and he can really go. We had one break in the first half where Kenny kind of got caught backing up trying to contain the dribble and he rose up and knocked down his first three. But overall I thought our guys understood we needed to try to take those two guys out of the game and had a level of awareness of where they are. And there was a couple times we broke down and were a little bit forgetful, but for the most part for the game I thought they did a good job of maintaining their intensity and their focus on really trying to give those guys the type of attention that they really needed.

Q. Talk a little bit about your guards, how they complement each other when they're on.
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, they played well tonight, and Chandler passed the ball, moved the ball very well. I thought Chandler's two threes kind of broke the ice for our team a little bit, the ball going in the basket.
But you know, I thought Erving in the Kentucky game really needed to understand that with some of the length and size that he goes against that there's other things you can do to really affect the game. And I think because he was scoring so heavily in the SEC tournament, I think when we were struggling to score he was trying to do too much offensively, and he really was not letting the game come to him. And I think when you look to his scoring tonight, a lot of it was transition where the ball got quickly moved and he was left open or he drove it and we quickly swung it back to him and he got a three or came off a pick-and-roll and got a three. He scored, but it didn't even look like he took very many shots.
And Kenny I think the same thing. You know, he was patient, and then all of a sudden there was a couple plays where the ball really moved quickly, and next thing you know the ball ends up in his hands. There is no question, I think any time your backcourt is scoring and they're making shots, it really opens up things for your front court because now the perimeter defense is now focused on getting out on those guys and now it opens up a little more room and space for your big guys.

Q. Regardless of the margin or the opponent, were you relieved by how hard your guys played and how seriously they took this game?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, you know, it's kind of an interesting time because even in the SEC tournament it's still a one and done tournament but you know you've got the NCAA Tournament. This is the first time where this is season-ending stuff right now. I thought that they came in very, very focused, and I think they learned some valuable lessons from the Kentucky game of what they needed to do better. And I thought their focus coming in and their preparation for the two or three days that we had leading into the game were very, very good. And you know what, I had enough respect for these guys that I mean, I was really talking to our guys, and I thought the game was going to be very, very close.
And I think if you look at the games today, they were very, very close, regardless of the seeding, and I think we were expecting that. But because of our defense and the way we shot the ball we were able to extend our lead. I felt like coming in here that they were in the right frame of mind, they had the right focus and they really wanted to come out here and play well. That's what I felt.

Q. To that end, have you learned something about your team, or does it confirm some things that you thought about your team based on how they were able to get a lead today and then stick to the game plan and keep their foot on the gas, so to speak?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, they did. I also think, too, I was a little bit disappointed as the second half started, to be honest with you. I mean, we gave up five quick points, and all I'm preaching in the locker room at halftime is no threes for Johnson and Nunnally. We cannot give up three-point shots because they can make enough of them.
And what did we do the first possession? Johnson makes a three. And then we lose somebody in transition, we turn it over and they score. Now all of a sudden, it's 24 down to 19, and then we made a couple of baskets which got it right back up to 24 quickly, but I wasn't overly thrilled with our defense to start the second half.
I actually thought when our younger guys came in, they actually did a nice job, Patric and Scottie did a real good job. And I think when we threw Willie Yeguete in there, he had some breakdowns in the first half, but the second half he was a little better. I think these guys understand what's at stake, and I think they realize that, okay, what happened today, margin of victory, that's not going to be the case the next game. And it was a great opportunity for us to kind of get some experience because I think your first game in this tournament is always difficult, just hard.
And now they got their legs under them maybe seeing the atmosphere, got a win, now can we come back and in a short turnaround, one day prep for either UCLA or Michigan State, can they have that same kind of focus they've had the last three days.

Q. How long has it seemed to you since Florida had won an NCAA game, and as a guy who's won a lot of them, was it starting to get a little frustrating?
COACH DONOVAN: Not really. It doesn't seem too long ago, it really doesn't, to me. I mean, four years ago is not that long. If it was 25, I'd say, boy, it seems like forever, but really in this year -- not really.
I think the one thing that's hard for me, you've got to kind of absorb or take or create a level of peace is I knew after those national championship teams that we were starting over. It's been very difficult. It's been very challenging. It's also been very, very rewarding being part of a group of guys and trying to help them understand what it takes to win at this level and the strides that they've made from their freshman year until now. And I throw Vernon in that category because he's been here for three years, even with the year he sat out. We're really fortunate -- I know everybody talks about us not getting to the tournament for two years with those guys, but there are a lot of programs that lost just what we lost, and they had losing records, really good programs. I mean, these kids did a pretty good job, but I think when you raise the bar and the standard and you're trying to get those guys to reach a standard that you've had for a period of time, you don't want them to settle for something. But you know what, in reality, the first two years with all those young guys, winning over 20 games, and I know it was the NIT, but like I said, there's a lot of really good programs that lost a lot of really, really good players. They went through losing seasons before they were able to win.

Q. Chandler touched on it a little bit about the guards, as far as the assists is concerned, but the passing in the first half was absolutely incredible, considering he brought up that it was almost 15 assists. When you look at a stats sheet as coaches do, free throws, rebounds, transition baskets, when you see 15 assists what comes to your mind, and did they do it right?
COACH DONOVAN: When you see 15 assists a lot of times it means the ball is going in the basket, because you can do a great job making passes and you can miss a lot of shots and you don't have a high number of assists. So the ball is going in the basket when you see 15 assists. I thought our ball movement was very good and I thought we had a stretch there where we really moved the ball at a very high level. I thought that was very important because I think Santa Barbara is what I would call a great slap down team. They slap at the ball, they reach the ball and they got some turnovers on us. But I thought we were pretty crisp with our passing and our ball movement, and we found open people and guys had their heads up and their vision was there. And we were able to utilize inside-out action and we were able to get some of our shooters some open looks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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