SEC Notebook: Gators' Billy Donovan takes issue with officiating in SEC semifinal game
When Florida coach Billy Donovan met with the media after Saturday's SEC tournament game, he was quick to commend Kentucky on its performance in a 74-71 win over the Gators.
But Donovan was also critical of the officiating in the game. The Gators shot just two free throws in the game, while Kentucky was 15-of-20 from the free-throw line.
"I thought that was a huge factor for us to be that close as we were with such a huge discrepancy,'' Donovan said. "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 (Terrence) 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.''
Dononvan said some of the non-calls were too obvious to miss.
"I thought our guys battled and fought as hard as they could.,'' he said. "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 were times we fouled them. I thought (Eric) 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.''
Donovan said he'll be addressing the issue with the league office. Whether he'll be facing a fine for publicly addressing the officiating remains to be seen.
CALIPARI: "Let's go for it":
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he's not a big fan of conference tournaments, but after Saturday's win over the Gators, he encouraged his team to work hard to win it all.
"I told them coming into this tournament, I just want us to play well and make sure when this tournament's over, we're ready for that next tournament,'' Calipari said. "I don't like tournament play. We play all season. Three games in three days, I don't like it. But what I just told them is that Kentucky's different, and 15,000 people come here. They can't get in Rupp Arena, so they come here. Or wherever we play. They save all year so they can come to this. And so you have an obligation to come in here and play to win, and you got 15,000 people that drove, flew, walked, however they got down here, they're here. And then I told them after this game, you know I'm not a big tournament guy, if we had lost and played well, I would have been fine. We walk on. But now that you're in the championship game, you might as well play it to win it. I mean you're here, you got play the game, let's go for it.''
HOPING THREE'S A CHARM:
Vanderbilt will take its third shot at Kentucky on Sunday in the SEC Tournament championshp, and the Commodores are hoping to be able to do what Florida couldn't - win the third time around.
"I think it's pretty tough for a team to beat another team three times in one season,'' Lance Goulbourne said. "We know those guys pretty well, we played them twice and we played them down to the wire both games we played them. We know their tendencies. We're a pretty experienced club and we know what we have to do to win the game tomorrow. We just have to play with a lot of energy and execute to the best we can, and I think we'll have the outcome that we want.''