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March 10, 2012

Bradley Beal

Billy Donovan

Erik Murphy

Patric Young


Kentucky – 74
Florida – 71

CLAUDE FELTON:  All right.  We're joined by head coach Billy Donovan and student‑athletes Erik Murphy, Bradley Beal and Patric Young.  We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH DONOVAN:  I was proud of the way our guys competed today.  I thought we had a two‑minute stretch there where we gave up a few offensive rebounds.  We had a couple turnovers that kind of allowed them to regain some momentum and take the lead.
But I really thought the difference in the game to me was the fact that we got to the free throw line two times, and by far the most physical game that we have played in all year.  How we only got there two times is beyond me.
But I thought that was a huge factor for us to be that close as we were with such a huge discrepancy.  But we shot the ball well.  I thought we moved the ball, made the extra pass.  But I thought the offensive rebounding late in the second half and a few of our turnovers hurt us.  But I give our guys credit.  They battled and fought to get themselves back into the game to give themselves a chance.
We got called for a foul on Jones, and he made both free throws and that gave them a four‑point lead, and we were just kind of trying to get something as quick as we could there.
CLAUDE FELTON:  Take questions for student‑athletes.

Q.  Can you talk about coming here and playing, you played really well for two days, and what that can do for you going forward .
ERIK MURPHY:  I think we just got to keep it up.  We got to play with confidence, play unselfishly, and fix the little things, like offensive rebounds, that hurt us today, and turnovers and stuff like that.  I think we just got to keep playing the way we have been.
BRADLEY BEAL:  I believe our effort in both games was pretty good.  Our intensity was what coach wanted it to be.  So I believe that if we just keep doing this going into the tournament, I think we'll be fine.
PATRIC YOUNG:  I believe that it gives us something to build off of going into the practice next week.  We just need to be committed and focused on doing the things that we failed to do this game, and hopefully we can make a good run in the tournament coming out next week.

Q.  The third time you played Kentucky and it was obviously the closest and most competitive game, what did you do differently today?
ERIK MURPHY:  I don't know.  I think we made some shots, we played pretty good defense for the most part.  I think we just competed.  And when you have two teams at this stage in the season, meeting for the third time, you pretty much know each other.  I think that's what kept it real close, our energy and our passion that we played with.
BRADLEY BEAL:  I believe this time I think we didn't give up.  Like the first two games, we kind of gave up down the stretch.  But during this game we were down about six or eight, whatever it was, and we battled back and we ended up getting back in the game down two with a minute left.
So I think from those three games, I think this is the best game we played against them by far and I'm really proud of my guys.
PATRIC YOUNG:  I think we did a really good job pushing through fatigue.  They only played six guys, so we had our big emphasis on running the floor and getting out and score and push it out in transition.  And it started wearing the guys out a lot because we don't think they're in the best of shape.  But I think that we did a really good job with that.  It showed, because we were able to stay in the game.
CLAUDE FELTON:  All right.  We'll excuse the student‑athletes and take questions for coach.

Q.  This week you talked about these guys kind of learning from just all different experiences they had this season.  Is that kind of what happened there after that 14‑0 run you guys got down, is that kind of the pay off for going through all the stuff they went through?
COACH DONOVAN:  Certainly we knew that it was going to be some ebbs and flows in the game.  I think against Kentucky, there's two things you have to do to put yourself, in my opinion, and we've played them three times, to be in the best position to win.  You have to do what LSU did and just be extremely physical at the basket, and body all cutters and those things.  And we don't necessarily have that kind of team.  With you get being out, or I think the other thing you do is you need to play really, really fast.  Really fast and force Jones and Davis and those guys to constantly have to run during the course of the games, misses and makes.
And that doesn't mean just jacking up shots, but just get the game going up and down the floor and try to at least have ‑‑ they're not an overly deep team.  And I think that they do as good a job as anybody where they are great when they want to fast break and they're great when they want to hold it up and kind of run their offense.
And I thought we did a really good job for the most part, but we got tired too ourselves trying to push the ball that hard.  But we had some opportunities there I thought the end of the first half where it was a six‑ or seven‑point game with three to go, we were up.  And I thought we stopped pushing as aggressively as we did earlier.
But I think that we learned some things, as they said, probably playing them three times and kind of what we maybe had to do a little bit differently.

Q.  Syracuse lost yesterday, Kansas lost, Carolina's had some losses, Big‑10 champ had some losses.  Kentucky is undefeated in the league.  Are they that much better than anybody else or is there a bigger gap between them and the rest of the teams in the SEC?
COACH DONOVAN:  I think that's a great question.  I don't know the other leagues as well to comment, but I think it's more of a tribute to them, to their kids, for what they have been able to do.  I don't know the last time they lost.  But they have played in some close games.  I really think that they have had to deal with their share of adversity this year.  Whether it was at Vanderbilt, and Vanderbilt having them down there and finding a way at the end to win.  Whether it had been us kind of challenging them and then having to come from behind a little bit and playing like they did.  Whether it was LSU doing what they were doing yesterday to them and maybe them not playing to the best of their ability.
I think that they faced a lot of different challenges and they have kind of stepped up and they have handled all those challenges.  They're an outstanding team.  They're terrific.

Q.  Can you talk about how you got two points out of Kenny, you got two free throws and you still were able to make that a 2‑point game very late.  Just how you were able to do that?
COACH DONOVAN:  Well, I think that with their length what we really wanted to do, and I think the last couple times they really tried to switch out on the perimeter and take away threes, and I really felt like we could breakdown their defense on Davis and on Jones when they were switching on to walker and Boynton and those guys.  And we really drove the ball pretty well, we scored points in the paint, whether it's Patric on post touch and drives.  And some of our penetration led to threes.
But this is the first time in both times we have played them that we shot the ball from behind the line.  And we made 11 threes and it was 11 to their five.  So we made six more threes and that I think that was the huge discrepancy.
What we couldn't overcome was 20 free throws to 2.  Okay.  And then what we couldn't overcome was the rebounding margin, in particular the offensive rebounding.

Q.  You had a really good run for about the first 16 minutes of the first half.  Then you kind of had a breakdown there at the end of the first half.  Was it a case of just getting a little bit worn down and missing some shots or what was that happening there?
COACH DONOVAN:  I thought we were doing a really good job early in the game driving the ball, playing really fast and getting in the lane and kicking it out.  And we really I thought had a combination of some basket drives for some lay‑ups and some kick‑out threes.  I thought the last three minutes offensively when we were trying to go on the dribble on Davis, on Jones, on some of them, when we started to go, the guy driving is the last guy that needs to be shooting the ball, because all the helps coming there.
I thought we took some tough shots in the lane, all of our guys.  And it was during that three minute stretch.  Then we did a much, much better job of moving it and passing it to start the second half.

Q.  We saw Beal's all‑around game today.  You had a lot of talented freshmen.  Is he the most talented freshman you've had?
COACH DONOVAN:  He's a very good player.  He's a really, really good player.  But I think that Mike Miller was pretty good, Donald Harvey was pretty good, Haslem was pretty good.  There's been some pretty good ones, but he's certainly right there and up there.  And it's good to see him kind of evolving.
And as he's gone through this year and gaining more and more confidence, and I think for him early, there was so much of a‑‑ he never really had faced adversity.  He never had dealt with shooting one for ten, three for ten, and being able to move to the next day and working.  And I think those things were all challenging to him, but actually did a really nice job I think as the year's unfolded of doing some of that.

Q.  Could you speak about your interior defense, Murphy seemed like he was pretty active down there for there were a lot of offensive rebounds?
COACH DONOVAN:  I thought our guys battled and fought as hard as they could.  They did a good job.  Again, I don't understand how in a game like that we get to the free throw line two times.  I thought our guys were battling in there and I thought their guys were battling.  I thought it got to a point in the second half where it was kind of like just everybody was taking each other down because no one wanted to give up anything easy.
But when you see from our bench in the second half, Patric Young getting pushed in the back constantly, constantly, constantly, and there's just no whistle.  I mean, to me, it's really hard to overcome 20 free throws to 2.  There's no way in the game like that.  I could see if Kentucky was playing two‑three zone and didn't touch anybody, and but we were fouling them.  I'm not saying that we didn't foul them.  There was times we fouled them.  I thought Murphy, when Jones drove, we fouled him.  I'm not saying that.
But I mean, we got to the free throw line two times?  I mean, we just had a hard time overcoming that.  But I thought our guys battled as physically as best they could up front.

Q.  Did you see fouls out there?
COACH DONOVAN:  Yeah.  Patric Young's going up on offensive rebound and he's being pushed in the back.  And we're doing the same thing to them.  I'm not saying that we're not doing it.  We're doing the same thing.  It's just I'll deal with the office on it.  It's probably the best way to put it.  And I'll have a lot to say, too.
And when I say that, it had nothing to do with us losing the game, so I don't want to take anything away from Kentucky.  They deserve the game.  They won the game.

Q.  You said that you were going to have to find a vision without Will Yeguete.  Do you feel like now after today and yesterday this team has seen your vision of how you want them to play without having him?
COACH DONOVAN:  I think we're starting to figure out we're a team that, outside of Patric when he's off the floor, we really don't necessarily dominant post presence.  Kentucky's got three of them Gillchrist, Davis, and Jones, and even Miller.  Sometimes when he gets put into a situation where he's at the small forward spot, a lot of times he's bigger.
So what a lot of teams are doing are saying, Okay, these guys are just 3‑point shooters, we got to take away the three.  What we got to do is manufacture 2‑point baskets, whether it's throwing it to Patric or spacing the floor and creating penetration.  And I thought the last couple games, even going back to maybe Vanderbilt, I thought we did a much, much better job of understanding how to go about doing that.
And I think our confidence grew as the games have gone on.  Even though we fell off a little short on Vanderbilt on the road and Kentucky at home, I still could see some strides and progress there.  There was progress made from those guys driving the ball and doing those things.

Q.  You talked about breeding confidence there.  Is that something you want the team to take out of this game?  Seemed like they were kind of down in the locker room.
COACH DONOVAN:  They should be.  I would be disappointed if they felt like, Wow, we really played hard and happy day.  I want them to be bothered.  They should be bothered.  Not to say this should linger on for two weeks, but they need to understand that you can give that kind of effort in the NCAA tournament and you go home.
We did some things in the game that were really, really good, and we also did some things in the game in terms of giving up offensive rebounds and things that we had control over that we needed to do a better job of.
So I think them realizing as close as we were, some of the turnovers, that added up there.  The offensive rebounds clearly hurt us there, clearly hurt us.

Q.  Couple of times I saw your guards dribbling along the baseline with Davis kind of trailing them.  And I noticed they looked a little self‑conscious.  When somebody like that sort of has such a reputation as shot blocker, what's the tumble‑down affect on getting into people's heads?
COACH DONOVAN:  Oh, I definitely think that there's a huge factor there with him.  There's no question.  Because he comes from a lot different places.  I think the worst thing to do is to guess that he can't block your shot.  I think a lot of guys make those assumptions and he's so quick and so long and so athletic off the floor, that he alters shots in a way that none of these players across the country or even ever used to.  There's never been a shot blocker like him.
And in the most impressive thing is, in 16 games league games, he's fouled 24 times.  Usually shot blockers leaving the floor get fouls.  He doesn't foul.  And that's the thing that's impressive about him, is I think most teams and most players struggle against him because there has not ‑‑ most players have not played against a player like him with his length.
And I think Kentucky can have obviously as much of a chance as anybody to go all the way, but I think the one you surprise that they do have in the NCAA tournament is as a coach when you're preparing for Kentucky, you can talk about Davis and his shot blocking ability, but it's one of those things, unless you've played against it a couple times, it really can take you off guard.  Because you think you can get the ball up on the glass, you think you can get it over him, and that's the worst thing.
I tell our guys, You better know, there's no thinking, because generally he's going to block it.  So I think our guards doing that wasn't so much of being afraid as much as having awareness, and they did a pretty good job of that.
CLAUDE FELTON:  Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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