Donovan Hopes Break Helps

Florida Basketball Coach Billy Donovan sent his players away for a short holiday break after their loss at Ohio State. Now he has to send his young Gators against Temple in a Saturday evening contest in Sunrise.

Donovan's young charges haven't been through this before, nor do they have much experience bouncing back from losses. So in that regard Saturday will provide another new challenge and opportunity for the Florida squad. Donovan says he likes the way his guys returned to the practice court.

"Guys came back rejuvenated and practiced pretty good (Wednesday) night, which was good," Billy Donovan said. "They were rusty and the timing was really bad, but they were focused. You always worry about when they have three days off and what the impact will be on their conditioning but for right now it didn't have too much of an impact on them."

The Gators had another lousy day shooting the ball against the Buckeyes, making just 33 percent from the field and 17 percent from beyond the arc, but Donovan was pleased that his guys competed harder than they did against Florida State when they suffered their only other loss.

"I would hope that you would do that (compete hard)," he said. "For a young team, and I don't want to keep harping on that because I sound like a broken record, I thought we did compete better. We rebounded better (than against FSU) against a bigger, stronger team. We got to the offensive glass. But the thing was offensively we got off to a good start and then you go 13 minutes and we score one field goal. It's just difficult to go on the road and win under those circumstances."

The Gator coach offered up his thoughts on the Temple team his guys will be facing in South Florida.

"I think of two guys (Mark)Tyndale and (Dionte) Christmas that are SEC level, NBA level type players," Donovan said. "We have not faced a team that has two guys, personnel wise that are just like these guys. They are terrific players who are leading rebounders on their team (6.5 each) and leading scorers (15.5/19.9) on their team. They are "do it all" kind of guys that don't need a lot of help to do it. Generally when you have shooters and scorers you see a lot of different action to get those guys shots. But they run their actions just to get them the ball in certain areas of the floor and let them go to work and play. We've got a real tough challenge because they'll play Tyndale at the small forward spot and then slide him down to the power forward. Christmas is a guy who can get it any time off the dribble by himself. I don't think we're stopping those guys. We just don't have the personnel to just stop them from shooting the ball. What we have to do is try to make them take as difficult shots as possible."

Donovan also pointed out that Temple has some nice role players to compliment the two major scoring threats.

"The other guys on their team really play off those two guys. They'll be recipients of dump down passes in the low post, and they'll take some catch and shoot threes."

Temple comes into the game with a 6-5 record, but that's pretty good after losing their first three games. They played Tennessee in Knoxville opening day and lost by 17. They also lost a shootout to Villanova 101-93, but that's somewhat deceptive. Temple trailed big most of the way and only a furious rally against Villanova reserves made the final score respectable.

This is Florida's fourth game away from the O'Dome, but for the third time, it will be in front of a partisan crowd.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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