Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sports

Donovan seeks to keep Gators focused

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GAINESVILLE — With road wins over Tennessee and then-No. 14 Kentucky last week, coupled with a loss by Arizona, the Florida men's basketball team moved up to No. 2 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches polls on Monday.

The Gators (23-2, 12-0 SEC) will host Auburn on Wednesday night with their highest ranking since February 2013. They received one first-place vote, denying Syracuse a third straight week as a unanimous No. 1. With Syracuse facing a tough game at Duke on Saturday, UF could move to No. 1 next week if it keeps winning.

Coach Billy Donovan said he's eager to see how Florida handles this week, which includes a game at Ole Miss on Saturday. He's preaching how to handle prosperity again.

"I think for any coach, that's a constant battle in trying to deal with moving to the next thing," he said. "I've always said there's always some kind of residual effect after a game. Whether a player didn't play well, or he didn't play well enough or he didn't play great or he thinks he has it all figured out or he was in foul trouble, there's some kind of effect you deal with coming out of the game. I think the key is, are our guys willing and prepared today to start all over again in the process of getting ready to play Wednesday night? And be willing not to skip steps."

All that's much easier said than done when you're winning, he said.

"That's the hardest part after a game is over with, whether you win or lose you have to start all over again …" he said. "Are you prepared to go all the way back down to the cellar again and have to prepare and have to go back up? That is a tedious, grinding, fatiguing, hard process to go through. But it's one you have to go through in order to be successful."

NEWFOUND SUCCESS: Senior G Scottie Wilbekin said Monday that he's not much into individual awards. The way he's playing, he might want to get used to it.

Wilbekin was named SEC player of the week and was also named one of 23 finalists for the Bob Cousy point guard of the year award.

Wilbekin averaged 22 points, four assists, three rebounds and 2.5 steals in wins Tuesday at Tennessee and Saturday at Kentucky. His 21 points against Tennessee were a career high before he topped it with 23 against Kentucky. He had eight assists and no turnovers in 71 minutes of action. He was also 21-of-24 (88 percent) from the free-throw line, including 18-of-20 in the second half.

"They (individual honors) don't really mean anything," Wilbekin said. "It's nice to be acknowledged, but I've still got to put in work and we've still got practice (Monday), so it's not really going to affect anything."

HILL OUT?: Donovan said freshman G Kasey Hill is doubtful for the Auburn game with a groin injury suffered at Kentucky.

DID YOU KNOW?: The women's tennis team is 3-0 at home this season and has extended its overall program-record home winning streak to 124, which includes 21 wins in postseason play. Florida owns the longest active women's Division I home win streak, in any sport, and has the second-longest active home win streak on any Division I team, trailing only the run by the Ohio State men's tennis team. The Buckeyes have won 181 consecutive home matches, having last lost in Columbus on April 5, 2003, to Illinois.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TBTimes_Gators.

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