COACH DONOVAN: Well, I was really proud of our guys, and I thought coming into the game these guys prepared really, really hard, and I thought they prepared well. You know, I know there's a lot made of Jimmer Fredette, and he's certainly a great player. But we really felt like coming into the game that the key was going to be to really try to shut down the other four guys that were going to be on the floor with him, because a lot of times you cannot dictate when he's going to shoot the ball and where he's going to shoot the ball from.
I actually thought that Kenny did a terrific job defending him. I thought Alex on the offensive glass really -- and defensive glass did a tremendous job. He was great tonight. He made shots. But he really was aggressive as he was active.
And I thought Chandler really contributed and gave us what he normally give us in an all around game where he rebounded assists and scored some. But if you look at the stats sheet, we were able to hold all their guys under double figure points other than Fredette, and I thought that was going to be really important, knowing and understanding their personnel, the other four guys, as best as we could. And I thought our guys worked hard for three days to try to get an understanding of what the strengths and weaknesses are of each guy.
I think when you've looked at their team when they've won, they've had great balance, and Fredette's gotten 34, 35, but there's been three or four of the guys that have had between 10 and 16, and now you're looking at a team that's scoring in the mid 80s.
We're happy to advance and happy to be playing on Saturday. And I'm happy for certainly two seniors that are up here and also Erving.
Q. Alex, can you talk about -- you said the greatest game of your career on this stage. Can you talk about what that means to you?
Alex Tyus: That means a lot, just being able to come out and play to the best of my ability tonight and help the team win in many different ways.
Q. Erving, how hard was it collectively for you guys to defend Jimmer and to make him shoot so many times to get to 32 points?
Erving Walker: It was difficult because he's a great player. He got a lot of combination moves, he can shoot from long distance, and he can shoot at any time. But I think like I said, we did a good job as a team, especially Kenny did a great job defending the whole game.
Q. Chandler, when a guy scores 32, it's hard to ask with a straight face about how well the guy was defended. But Boynton really seemed to be his dance partner all night long. Can you talk about the job he did on this guy?
Chandler Parsons: I think he did an unbelievable job just limiting his open looks. If you look back, pretty much every shot he took was off balance. Kenny was right there with him, staying down on him. He pump fakes and Scottie also did a good job or whoever was on him, switching on him, did a great job and made it really difficult to him. If you look he had 32 points, but I think it was a great job defensively we did on him making him take tough, long shots.
Q. Alex, what about your match-up allowed you to be so effective? Was it just size or what was going on that you were able to do so well tonight?
ALEX TYUS: Well, I'm really not too worried about the match up, just mainly coming out and trying to make an impact during the game to help the team win, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and playing good defense.
Q. Erving, you guys have been very, very good in overtimes this year. What is it about overtime that y'all seem to be able to put it all together?
ERVING WALKER: I think we just know how to stay focused and stay in the moment. And they made a run to come back at the end of the second half, but we stayed together, and I think we conditioned pretty good. Matt got us in good condition since the summertime, and I think we got a lot of energy left in us.
Q. Chandler, could you sense the frustration on Fredette, like you just talked about, he had to work for every shot, he ended up with the chin, his calf was dinged up? Can you talk about how he seemed to appear frustrated?
CHANDLER PARSONS: Everyone gets frustrated out there. He seemed -- pretty much every defense all year long and he's been effective basically against everybody but you can definitely tell he was getting a little frustrated and that's a credit to our guys who were guarding him, especially Kenny Boynton who really did a great job and, like I said, stayed with him and really made it difficult for him out there.
Q. Question for Erving, could you talk about chasing down that ball at the end of regulation, getting that offensive rebound that at least allowed you guys to hold for the last possession and what you saw there?
ERVING WALKER: I was actually kind of lucky because I was supposed to get back after Kenny's shot, but I just hung around a little bit and I seen the ball go to the corner and I just made a hustle play and I was able to come up with the ball.
Q. Chandler, could you just talk about the play at the end of regulation? From the angle that we had where we were, it was hard to tell whether somebody reached in and got a little bit of a piece of the ball to force you to kind of lose control of it going up or whether the ball slipped as you were going up. Could you describe what happened?
CHANDLER PARSONS: Well, I was coming off a double screen and I saw the guy guarding me kind of jumped over it, so I tried to turn it down. I just wanted to make sure we got the last shot and to not give them a chance to get the ball back. I just went up and three or four guys jumped at me, so I really just tried to draw a foul and throw it up there. It didn't slip or anything, it was just a forced shot.
Q. Billy, can you talk about Alex and what he did today, as I said, on this stage had his best game?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, I think the one thing with Alex is a lot of times he never really gets fazed in the moment of what's going on. You know, one of the things I've tried to pull out of him and get him to see is that when he has a lot of activity and he's really, really flying around, because of his athleticism he has a great ability to impact the game, and this was a game where I really -- I talked to him and Vernon before the game because we tried to go inside to those guys.
But I think the thing that you saw was they were double teaming the low post. But what happened was, and I talked to Alex about this, is when they were doubling teaming the low post they were leaving from Alex to get Vernon. When Vernon was throwing the ball back out. Alex's man had to go from a double-team and try to find him. And I thought he was freed up in a lot of instances to get to the glass. Now, he didn't grab a whole lot of offensive rebounds, but he was active on the glass. I thought he did a great job defensive rebounding and limiting them at times to second shots. But he was just really athletically very, very active, and that helped. You know, he got off to a good start, made his fist jump shots, then all of a sudden he made a three-point shot and he just kind of got things going. Then he made some baskets in around close in the second half. But he really played a terrific game. I'm happy for him being a senior. He's been a great kid, and he's worked hard. And he and Chandler have been through a lot, so it's great when you can have a senior like that on a stage like it was today to be able to really impact the outcome of the game.
Q. The last two or three minutes of the game, I noticed that Fredette took outside shots and really didn't go inside where he had been somewhat effective. He had not missed a free throw. Were you surprised about that? And secondly, was there any adjustment you made that would have caused him not to do that?
COACH DONOVAN: We really did not make any adjustment on him. One of the things we just tried to do was keep our shoulders parallel to half court and never try to get on the side of him. There were some times he made some good moves and got around us. You know, I don't know what the answer would be to that question because I don't know what he was thinking. But it was like I said before, he's going to take a lot of shots, and the thing you want him to do is to take a lot of shots, and you hope that you're not in a situation where he scores 52. But he almost took as many shots as points he made.
When I look at the stats sheet, the 32 points is misleading because of the number of shots it took him to get to 32. I think it's the same thing, you look down the stats sheet and see they made ten three-point shots and that's probably too much. When you look at the number of attempts that they took from the three-point line, it was actually okay.
So we -- I don't think we did anything special, so to speak, or changed anything. The only thing that we did in overtime a little bit when we got up by five or six is I didn't want to give up a three-point shot is we switched out on him and forced him to try to drive. He's really good, like I said, he's seen a lot of different defenses and he can make a lot of difficult shots.
Q. Would you talk a little bit more about what Kenny Boynton did? He was running through a lot of screens, so forth like that, and 32 points is a lot of points, but it took him a lot of shots to get them on Kenny?
COACH DONOVAN: You know, Kenny -- the biggest thing with Fredette to me which effective scorer is he gets fouled a lot, and he creates and really does a great job selling ball fakes, where he drives to a spot and he acts like he's shooting and you jump through the air and he jumps into you and he draws contact. I thought the key for us defensively defending him tonight was nobody left the floor. We all stayed down and nobody jumped. Especially the first 13 minutes, I think he was trying to get us in the air to react to shots, and we never reacted. But he's such a good scorer that after that first 13 minutes, he started to kind of figure out some different ways to score and he did, he got some drives to the basket late there in the half first half and then he got some drives early, but can he really aren't feet. He can get it off any time he wants to.
Any time he wants to get it off, he can get it off. He's got a special still, and I give him credit because he's a real hard-working kid that has really made himself a great player, and I've got all the respect and admiration for that.
Q. You've touched on this already, but to have Jimmer score 32 points that way and to keep everyone else under control, is that the ideal diagram for how you beat that BYU team?
COACH DONOVAN: That's what we tried to do. I was a little bit concerned to start the game because it probably obviously got off to a hot start. The first shot he made Erving Walker, I mean, he was all over him. He made two like that. One time we lost him. But he picked up two fouls, and maybe never really got back in the flow offensively.
I also thought the thing, and I don't know how much it affected BYU, but I thought the pace of the game was really, really fast. I mean, it was really an up and down game. You know, maybe the fatigue level -- because I felt like we were trying to rotate guys in and out a little bit maybe more, and they played a lot of guys a lot of minutes. But the problem with BYU -- like when you get to the Sweet 16, I know Fredette gets all his publicity and exposure, and deservedly so, but a lot of people don't realize how good of a player Jackson Emery is and Hartsock is and even Collinsworth driving to the basket.
And that's really what ended up happening to Gonzaga. They gave up 14 three-point shots and they had a lot of guys in double figures scoring and they scored a lot of points.
So the way the game kind of went for us, and like I said -- I think I said this on Wednesday, that they're better than they were a year ago, and we can play better than we did a year ago and still not win. The game went into overtime, and I thought we did a pretty good job tonight, and it still went into overtime.
Q. Could you talk in general about your defense, and this is the second lowest point total in 60 years of Florida basketball this year, but the perception of your program is Billy ball, up and down transition, but just talk about maybe how your defense doesn't get appreciated because of the past reputation of the program?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I think one of the things that happens, too, I really felt like our team with Noah, Horford and Brewer was really underrated defensively, and we were a great, great defensive team. This year's team has gotten better.
I think we were really two and three years ago not very good at all, but I think a couple things have happened. One, we've got some older guys that understand schemes and scouting report and changing of defenses, and when I'm talking about changing of defense, I'm not talking about switching man to zone, I'm talking about changes, coverages inside of a game.
They're pretty cerebral and they're older so you can do that a little bit more with them. I think with the addition of Patric Young and Scottie Wilbekin and even Will Yeguete, they give us a different defensive dimension. When you're taking Boynton out of the game, and you're putting Wilbekin in, he can still guard pretty well. When you take Macklin out and put Young in, he can guard pretty well. When you take Alex Tyus out and put Will Yeguete in, he's a good defender. So I think the combination of our guys being a little bit older and then having some freshmen that are pretty good at it, it's probably made us better but maybe not something that people look at as far as being a really good defensive team, but I think we have made some really good strides.
Q. A lot of us peeking in on Jimmer used to think he's a shooter, they know him as a shooter, but tonight was a good example of how much he's a scorer. As he projects to the NBA, there's a lot of discussion on that. How do you think he will fare at the next level?
COACH DONOVAN: There's no question that he has the offensive capability to be a terrific NBA player. I think the biggest thing is -- and I don't know the answer to this question because I think when you're asking a player, like BYU is, to do what he's doing offensively, they have played zones and done different things. I think his biggest challenge is going to be, when people look at him, is what kind of defensive player can he be. I know he'll work hard at it because he's worked hard at every other part of his game. But I think the biggest question is going to be what kind of effort will he really put into really, really defending. And I thought one of the things we tried to do tonight to him was because he is so in an attack mode offensively, you've got to go back at him offensively and force him to guard. And I thought Walker really went at him not so much that he scored a lot of points but he was trying to take him on off the dribble and get down the lane and make some things happen. So I don't think there's any question, offensively, two-skilled, deep range, he's got all the -- if he plays with a great post player and he's spotting up behind the NBA three-point line, he's going to be a terrific shooter. His shooting percentages are astronomical for a guy that everybody is trying to stop. He really is terrific.
The biggest question is going to be on the defensive end of the floor. And I haven't seen him enough in terms of 30-plus games and the way these NBA teams are going to break him down, but that would be it.
I would say this, as hard as he's worked to make himself a player that probably would not be overly concerned about, but it's probably something the NBA guys are going to look at because they're always looking at can a guy guard his position, can you put him on a two, can he play a point, can he deal with some of the guys there at that level, and it's going to be probably something he'll have to address or show he's capable of.
Q. Can you talk about this victory for your program from kind of the macro perspective? Here you are knocking on the door of the Final Four, haven't been here since '07, kind of been a rocky journey since the back to back titles?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, it's been somewhat to me amazing, extremely rewarding because I knew after '07, when you lose for the first time in the history of college basketball three players got drafted off one team in the top ten picks of the NBA draft, and that's not considering two second-round draft picks in Chris Richardson and Taurean Green, and it's not also talking about Lee Humphrey who's the all time leading three-point scorer in NCAA history, when you lose those seven guys, we -- because they came back had a real hard time recruiting. And when I say that, a lot of kids say, they came back for their junior year to repeat, maybe they're going to come back for their senior year. We probably didn't do a good enough job having enough players there. So when Parsons and Calathes and those guys came in, we were starting off a ground zero. It was almost like I just took the job, and it was really unfortunate those guys were in. I thought the thing that really hurt us in terms of making that next step was the next year Speights leaves, first round draft pick at 6'11". I mean, Horford, Noah and Brewer stayed for three years, I thought we'd get another year out of them. And then the other thing after his sophomore year the next year, Nick Calathes leaves, First Team All-League guy. So the early departures of Noah, Horford, Brewer and those guys and Chris Richardson as seniors, and then you do fairly decent job recruiting and you lose those guys.
But the one thing that didn't happen to our program that's happened to a lot of great, great programs, when you lost that amount of people, people have had losing records and don't even go to postseason play. Those guys have won over 20 games, they went to the NIT. I think they did a heck of a job. It was just the standard was set so high for that two years that we had to take a dip, and I'm so happy for those guys. It's been so rewarding for me to see them make the journey they've made to this point right now. It's been very, very rewarding and fulfilling for me, and I hope in some way I've been able to give them as much as they've given me.