Any loss in March Madness is tough to take, but knowing they had chances at game winning shots to close both regulation and the first overtime made this a particularly gutwrenching one for the Gators to deal with.
"I was proud of the way our guys competed and fought," said coach Billy Donovan. "I wanted to see how our guys responded after getting into this tournament and I couldn't be any prouder the way they came out and responded."
"It's very disappointing," said forward Chandler Parsons. "BYU is a great team and we had our chances to win the game.... we fought hard, but it wasn't enough."
"It's real frustrating, especially since after being so close to winning," said point guard Erving Walker. "They made a few more plays in the end."
Florida had a great chance to win on its final attempt of regulation, but Parsons saw his 12-footer bounce off the rim with a second to go.
"I felt like I had a good look and shot it. It felt good. I thought it was going to go down."
The end of the first overtime did not go as well. Coming out of a timeout, Florida wound up not getting anything close to a quality shot up. Kenny Boynton fired the ball toward the basket, with Dan Werner attempting to tip it in believing time was about to expire. Donovan described what went wrong.
"We ran two guys at Boynton to try to create some space. He dragged their big guy. He had two guys on him, was trying to get the ball back to the post there, and and he just wasn't able to do it".
For Werner, the game was the end of his somewhat star-crossed Gator career. The last member of Florida's 2007 national champions made some heady plays, taking a key charge late from BYU's Jimmer Fredette late in regulation with the Gators down two and coming up with some key rebounds. The senior finished with four points and five rebounds. After the game, Werner reflected on his time in Gainesville.
"Looking back on the last four years, I'm very proud to be a Gator. I love the guys I played with, my coaches and I had a great experience."
While Werner's career is over, Kenny Boynton's first year wrapped up with a 26 point performance. Boynton also played the main role in Florida's defense of BYU star Fredette, chasing him all over the court. Ten of Fredette's 37 points came after Boynton finally fouled out early in the second overtime, and Boynton looked completely spent as he walked to the bench. Boynton gave Fredette credit afterward.
"I was tired late in the game. Every play he either passes or runs through to get the ball. He's a very good player."
Donovan called the game the most physical Florida had played all year.
The Gators finish 21-13 for the season. It's the third time in Billy Donovan's career he's lost in the first round of the NCAAs, with this the first coming as the lower seeded team in the matchup.
Florida Reacts to Tournament Disappointment
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