Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Florida's Donovan had some numbers worth bragging about

ARLINGTON, Texas — With 23 points and 10 assists against Kansas in the South Region semifinals Friday, Michigan G Trey Burke became the first to have at least 20 and 10 in an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game since Billy Donovan for Providence in 1987. Florida G Kenny Boynton said he has talked with Donovan about the UF coach's playing days.

"He's told me he was getting some good numbers in the tournament," Boynton said. "One time I talked to him and he told me one game — I can't remember exactly what he told me, but I think he said he finished his first (NCAA Tournament) game with, like, 35 points."

NEW MILESTONE: Friday's win over Florida Gulf Coast in the South semis gave Donovan 450 in his coaching career. His 31 NCAA Tournament victories (31-10) are the most by an SEC coach, surpassing Adolph Rupp's 30.

DIFFERENT HORFORD, DIFFERENT TEAM: Look for former Florida G Al Horford's younger brother on the court today when the Gators play Michigan in the South final, but it won't be in a UF uniform. Jon Horford is a redshirt sophomore reserve forward for Michigan who's averaging 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds. Jon said he did visit Florida, but the Grand Ledge, Mich., native wanted to play close to home.

LAST WORD: Though FGCU had its fairy tale season end against the Gators, the Eagles walked away with a confidence they believe will help the program become more than a one-hit wonder. "I think the biggest thing that we've learned — and probably a lot of America has learned — is just believe in yourself, even when no one else believes in you," senior G Sherwood Brown said.

COUGH, COUGH: Louisville G Russ Smith couldn't stop coughing Friday night. Saturday he couldn't catch a break.

Less than 24 hours after Smith scored a career-high 31 against Oregon to send the Cardinals into today's Midwest Region final against Duke, he had to endure friendly jabs from teammates, many of whom also have a virus.

"I think the game (Friday) helped us out a lot by Oregon running so much, it ran (the virus) all out of us," G Peyton Siva said. "We've been taking antibiotics, and I think everybody is getting their energy back and everybody's become more upbeat. And Russ stopped coughing on everybody, so I think we're doing better."

LONG-AWAITED: For the first time since their teams played perhaps the greatest game in NCAA Tournament history, coaches Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Rick Pitino of Louisville meet today.

Krzyzewski and Pitino are forever linked by that game in Philadelphia in 1992, immortalized by Christian Laettner's improbable shot that gave the Blue Devils a 104-103 overtime victory over Pitino's Kentucky.

"It's one of those moments in time that helped define our sport," Krzyzewski said. "When I've talked to Rick about it, we realize we were the lucky guys. We had different roles at that time, but we were both lucky to be there."

Said Pitino, "It was like being in Carnegie Hall and seeing the best musician or the best singer, just sitting there in amazement of what they were doing out on the basketball court."

DECADES OF DOMINANCE: Syracuse's Jim Boeheim became the fourth coach to reach the Final Four in four decades when his Orange beat Marquette in the East Region final, joining Dean Smith, Krzyzewski and Pitino.

HONORED GUEST: President Barack Obama attended the Syracuse-Marquette East final at Washington's Verizon Center.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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