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March 20, 2014

Billy Donovan

Dorian Finney-Smith

Kasey Hill

Patric Young


Florida – 67
Albany – 55

BILLY DONOVAN:  We're excited to be able to move on.  I was a little bit disappointed with our defense in the first half.  I didn't think we defended like we normally did.  I thought in the second half we did a much, much better job in that area.  I thought Kasey coming off the bench there in the second half gave us really great minutes, played very well, was a real good spark for us, and then I thought Patric kind of started to establish himself at different points in time in the game, and then I thought Dorian all the way around had a very nice game.
With the way they play, it wasn't going to be a high‑scoring game, but I did feel like we did a pretty good job of forcing tempo, got the game going up‑and‑down the floor and kind of knew they weren't going to play a lot of guys, and they didn't, but we were kind of able to extend that lead there right around maybe 13 or 14 minutes to go there in the second half.

Q.  Kasey, can you take us through the rehab to get ready?  I know you had your toe injury and what you thought this morning, whether you were going to be able to play or not?
KASEY HILL:  I mean, I knew I was going to be able to play.  I just left it up all to Duke, and he got me ready for the game.  He did a nice tape job on my toe, so...

Q.  Patric, what were your thoughts 25 minutes into the game when you looked up at the scoreboard and you're in a 39‑39 tie with a 16 seed.  Are you upset?  Are you angry in any way, or do you just kind of feel like you're just going to have to roll with it?
PATRIC YOUNG:  Well, if I'm angry then I'm living in the past because those points are on the board already.  There's nothing I can do about that.  Just try and get our team just to get a different mindset, try and lead us, try and be more vocal, just as a whole try and get each guy to give more, give more percent, one more percent can make a huge difference for us, and I think we were able to do that, make some plays around there.  Kasey brought us a lot of good energy, Scotty did a good job keeping up going, Casey Prather, as well.  My mind was just keeping on moving forward, moving to the next play.

Q.  Patric, when you've got a tough game like this where you guys need everything from everyone, how big was it to get a boost from your bench?
PATRIC YOUNG:  It's always huge.  It's our motto.  Coach Donovan says it all the time.  It's strength in numbers, so we have strength in numbers, so when guys, the starters are out there on the court, just give it your all, play hard, push yourself to fatigue because we've got not much of a dropoff at all coming off the bench.  Especially in Dodo and Kasey Hill, those guys, and DeVon always brings pretty good minutes, especially defensively, so it's good to have a lot of trust on the guys in the bench.  I know that helps Coach Donovan out a lot with subbing.

Q.  Patric, at 39‑39 you had a put‑back that was rather strong.  What were you feeling at that time, and did it have anything to do with the fact you had missed a dunk earlier?
PATRIC YOUNG:  Well, when I missed the one, I was just so surprised.  I hit the guy in the face, and I mean, it's not normal where a guy just drops on the floor and the whistle isn't called, so I mean, I was kind of caught off guard.  And when I got the next play I didn't think I was going to go up and dunk it, but I just mid‑flight just went up and just threw it down and just finished the play.

Q.  Kasey, in practices this last week, since the SEC game and today, did you work on a few things because last week you had a few turnovers, probably didn't play as well as you or Coach Donovan wanted.  What was the difference between last week and today?
KASEY HILL:  Well, I was out of foul trouble.  I wasn't in foul trouble like I was last game.  But just playing with confidence, playing aggressive, and just trying to do whatever I can to help the team.

Q.  You guys haven't been in there very long, but in the locker room right now it almost feels like a loss talking to some of your teammates.  You guys have been good all year about living in the moment and moving on.  Do you feel like this is something you're going to be able to do going into the Pitt game?
DORIAN FINNEY‑SMITH:  Yes, absolutely I feel like we can do that.  We've been doing it all year.  It was just a tough game.  We didn't come out with a lot of energy like we prepared to, but we've just got to move on to the next game.
PATRIC YOUNG:  I just think looking at this game, we just feel as though we know moving forward‑‑ I mean, it's a blessing we get the opportunity to play another 40 minutes of basketball, but Coach Donovan was saying to us after the game, this isn't going to be enough, enough to keep our season going, and we just look at each other and say, we know that there's more inside of us, more that we need to give, that we didn't have our style of play for 40 minutes, we didn't sustain that, and we're going to have to do that if we're going to hopefully make it on to the Sweet 16, because Pittsburgh, they played exceptionally well today, and hopefully we can come in the next game, Saturday, with a better mindset, better focus.

Q.  Dorian, do you think it was more what Albany was doing or maybe more of you guys not playing hard enough in the first half that kind of set the tone for the game?
DORIAN FINNEY‑SMITH:  I feel like they're a great team and they deserve to be here.  They made some tough shots.  But we just need to come out more connected as a team.

Q.  We just heard the players say that we might not have been as up for this game and as ready to go as we thought you might be.  How does that concern you moving forward, and what do you do to counteract that going into the Pittsburgh game?
BILLY DONOVAN:  Well, you know, I think the first thing is I take that very, very seriously because I feel as a head coach it's my job to get them ready.
Now, I will say this:  I'm dealing with human beings.  These guys are 33‑2 and haven't lost a game going all the way back to December 2nd.  They've done a really, really good job focusing like they need to in front of each challenge that's been in front of them.
This wasn't one of our better moments in terms of that.
Now, it was good enough to win, but I think like those guys said, is it good enough to play against a team like Pittsburgh?  Probably not.  But I'm proud of our guys because, one, they found a way to win when they didn't play their best, and you know what, they've always been really good at being able to learn valuable lessons in a lot of ways.
So hopefully they'll be able to come back and correct that and do a little bit better.  I think a couple things:  I think I knew they were going to jump the game up.  They had played some box‑and‑one, they had played some triangle‑two.  We had prepared for all that stuff.  We had prepared for match‑up zone, and I thought they'd probably put a triangle on Frazier and on Scottie Wilbekin.  If you look down, although those guys didn't get a lot of shots, we still shot 51 percent from the field, we got to the free‑throw line, shot 78 percent from the free‑throw line.  Offensively we were fine.  I thought where it showed up for us, we were not as connected as a group defensively as we've been up to this point in time, and we've been a great defensive team.  Today we were not a great defensive team.

Q.  Speaking of Pittsburgh, you don't see many 8‑9 games won by 29 points.  Just your initial scouting report on what you know about Pitt?
BILLY DONOVAN:  I don't have one.  I didn't see the game.  I haven't even really‑‑ I have not watched Pittsburgh play at all.  I shouldn't say that.  Actually I saw Pittsburgh play against Albany earlier but that was back in the end of December.  I know Jamie, and I know Jamie well, so I know what his teams stand for, what they represent and how they play, but obviously I'll have a lot to get prepared for once we get back to the hotel and start to break some things down.  Our assistants have been working on that, but I haven't had a chance to talk to them since the games ended.

Q.  What was your expectations for Albany coming into this game and did they exceed your expectations?
BILLY DONOVAN:  My expectations on Albany?  I thought they would play hard.  I'm not surprised by the game.  I don't think there was anything that was really surprising to us.  I thought they got really good minutes out of Puk.  I thought he played well, made some 15‑foot shots.  He struggled, I thought, in their conference tournament to shoot and score.  I thought his points gave them a boost.  Rowley, I didn't think played particularly well.  He was 1 for 8, he struggled a little bit and I thought he we did a really, really good job on Hooley.  And I thought Evans was crafty in a lot of ways.  I don't know if they played out of character to them, or my expectations probably were the way the game went how it was going to go.

Q.  A lot of Gator fans here today.  Just talk about the crowd support and the fan support you've had all season long.
BILLY DONOVAN:  Yeah, you know, it's been great.  Even going back to the regular season home games, some of the environments have just been special.  I thought we had a great showing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.  Game was great.  Being here in Orlando, I think another great turnout, and I know our guys really, really appreciate that.

Q.  Can you just talk about Kasey today, Scottie didn't seem to play one of his better games, and to have Kasey come in and give you a lift and what your morning was like with him in terms of the toe injury.
BILLY DONOVAN:  Yeah.  It was kind of a weird thing.  Someone kind of stepped on the back of his foot and his toe kind of, I guess, went into the floor, and I had to pull him out of practice, and the trainer didn't think anything it was anything, and I think the more they looked at him they thought it was a turf toe and that those things could take some time to heal, and we probably didn't know coming out of practice if he would play today.  I think this morning he felt.  They taped him up, they gave some support, he felt good, he went through shoot‑around.  He was out there during shoot‑around.  He was moving well.  I don't know how much pain he was in.  He never really said anything to me about it.  I didn't know what I would get out of him, but I thought we got some very, very good minutes from him.

Q.  One of your players said he didn't feel like this team was as connected defensively today.  Do you think in any way that this team feels a big burden to take this the distance sometimes and that maybe sometimes you don't get into the attack mode right away?
BILLY DONOVAN:  I think that's a fair question and probably a fair response the way he answered it.  I don't know.  I do think this:  Everybody in this tournament wants to continue to move on and advance, and everybody has earned the right to be in the tournament, and everybody has got some things that they can refer back to that gives them a sense of confidence because of what they've done.  Based on their past, they've earned the right to be there.
I didn't feel like our guys felt that way at all.  I think there's been a lot that our guys have had to handle and deal with, and I think they've done an unbelievable job this year, to be able to go 18‑0 in the regular season, to win three games in the SEC Tournament, to win 21 straight league games, they've done a really good job of putting things behind them, moving to the next challenge.  The most important thing here is survive and advance, and we advanced.  Albany, give them credit because I think if you go back to last year's game against Duke, I think Duke beat them by 12 points.  They had Connecticut several years ago back in 2007 I think down by double digits with like six minutes to go in the game, and UConn came back and won the game.  So they're a program that's accustomed to being here, and you knew they were going to battle and fight.
I've always said this:  Our margin for error as a team is not great.  So when you see what you see today, we were able to overcome it and win the game, but we were not the same defensive team I think that we've been in the past.  We really weren't.  And could that be expectations?  Could it be emotionally drained, long year?  Could it be, hey, Albany is in a play‑in game?  I don't know what it necessarily could be.  We worked really, really hard.  They've practiced well.  They've practiced well on Tuesday.  I thought we practiced well yesterday.  We seemed to be in a good place, pretty focused, and sometimes you don't get the performance that you want.
So we'll have to play a lot better.

Q.  First‑round games have tripped up a lot of teams during the tournament in the past.  Scottie said you referenced the Butler game back in 2000 to the team a little bit.  What did you talk to them about surviving this kind of a‑‑
BILLY DONOVAN:  The point I made was that in 2000 we were dead in the water in a lot of ways against Butler, and it obviously was a couple free throws missed, Dupay come down the floor, threw it to Miller, he made a runner and we advanced.
Through that shot and that play, we had a chance to play for it all that year, and my point was that you can't really take anything for granted:  A possession, a free throw, nothing.  Because sometimes a play here or there can be really, really altering in a lot of ways of you moving on.
Sometimes when you get to that place, now, that's probably not the same case with this team, but that team back there was like, wow, this almost ended, and it actually created a little bit more energy for our team the rest of the tournament.
And the thing I was trying to explain to those guys is that you've got to be able to take game to game and you've got to be able to put it behind you, get ready and move on to the next one.  We're basically going to play in less than 48 hours.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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