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Miami Rallies From 15-point Deficit to Upset Gator Basketball, Snaps Florida’s 33-Game Winning Streak at Home

By on November 18th, 2014
Jon Horford contributed 17 points and seven rebounds in the loss. He was clutch down the stretch, hitting a pair of three-pointers with under four minutes to go.

All good things must come to an end.

With a 69-67 loss to the Miami Hurricanes at the O’Connell Center on Monday night, the 33 game home winning streak for the Florida men’s basketball team is over.

Florida junior guard Eli Carter dropped 21 points on an efficient 8-for-9 shooting while junior sharpshooter Michael Frazier II added 13 points but it was not enough to overcome 48 points scored by the Hurricanes in the second half.

“As painful as it is for me, not that I want to see our guys lose, but they need to know what goes into winning,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “As much as it’s hard for me to say, it’s just they don’t have a great clue and an understanding (of what goes into a win). We played hard, we gave really, really good effort but we were unable to sustain that in the second half.”

Florida saw its 15 point lead erased in the second half largely due to the efforts of Miami junior point guard Angel Rodriguez, who scored five three-pointers in second half to rally the Hurricanes back.

Michigan transfer Jon Horford was the go-to option down the stretch for Florida, scoring eight points in the final four minutes but it wasn’t enough. Horford finished with 17 points and seven boards.

Rodriguez scored 18 of his last 24 points in the final 9:02 of the game; his isolation three-pointer over Kasey Hill’s outstretched arm with 16 seconds remaining to take a 68-67 lead proved to be the difference-maker.

“I was surprised we were even in the game,” Donovan admitted. “I thought our effort really kept us in the game and I thought when our effort diminished and we lost that intensity, I think (Miami’s) talent level took over.”

Forward Dorian Finney-Smith did not play due to a hairline fracture in his non-shooting hand, thus forcing the Gators to go  with a seven-man rotation. Walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz and Frazier II each played 36 minutes.

The Gators went 988 days without a home loss. They last tasted defeat in the O’Dome on March 4th, 2012, against a Kentucky Wilcats team led by eventual NBA number one overall draft selection Anthony Davis.

“It was a great run I guess here at home,” said Donovan. “It was a couple of years… it was really, really nice. But I loved the challenge today because clearly this wasn’t our full team and I thought a lot of guys poured their heart out there.”

The Gators will look to bounce back and build a new home winning streak on Friday when they welcome Louisiana-Monroe (1-0) to the O’Dome. Sophomore forward Chris Walker should be available for the Gators after serving his three-game suspension.

To listen to audio from the story, click below:

Donovan on the silver lining behind the loss

Donovan admits their lack of effort ignited their comeback

Donovan on the home-winning streak coming to an end

 

 

 

 

Posted in College Basketball, Gators Men's Basketball | 1 Comment

Gator Women’s Hoops Rout Longwood

By on November 18th, 2014

The Gator women’s basketball team crushed the Longwood Lancers at the O’Connell Center on Monday afternoon 91-46 to win their second game of the season. The Gators were led on the offensive side of the ball by Forward Ronni Williams.

Williams had 19 points, five rebounds, two steals, and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the field.

“All my points came from the paint,” said Williams. “My point guards and the other guards that are on the wing throwing it to me threw perfect passes, and I was able to catch it and finish.”

Guard Carlie Needles also played extremely well for the team and added 15 points, three steals, and a team-high eight rebounds. At one point in the game, Needles hit three consecutive 3-point shots from the left wing.

“I don’t prefer any particular side of the floor. But I thought that my teammates really looked for me once I hit the first one,” said Needles. “They gave me the two second shots easily, so I think it was just my placement on the floor. It’s not a favorite spot or anything like that.”

Florida’s 45 point win was as much of a display of the team’s dominance defensively as it was on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators held the Lancers to just 19 points in the first half and forced them into 27 turnovers throughout the game.

Williams says she’s not surprised to see them playing at such a high level defensively.

“Well, just like coach said, we’ve been working on Hector, which is the name of our defense, so just bringing that from practice onto the floor to perform has been natural.”

Gator coach Amanda Butler says she’s glad that the players have bought into her defensive system.

“That’s certainly what we had challenged the team to do…to step up and be a better defensive unit, to really take pride in establishing themselves in Hector. It’s something we’ve been talking about for a while now and I was just really pleased with the way they responded,” said Butler.

The Gators will try to win their third game of the season when they face St. John’s Red Storm this Thursday in Queens, New York.

Listen to audio clips mentioned above:

Williams on her scoring

Needles on her 3-point shots

Williams talks about team defense

Butler on their defense

Posted in Gators Women's Basketball | Leave a comment

Gator Football Update: Muschamp’s Dismissal And Florida Football Program’s Future

By on November 18th, 2014

Will Muschamp, who has been the Florida Gator head football coach for the last four seasons, carried himself with pure class and integrity as he discussed his dismissal, moving forward, and the future of the Florida football team during a Monday press conference.

But that’s no surprise, that’s just the type of man Will Muschamp is, and those who have worked with him can attest to it.

“From my perspective as president, I have treasured, literally treasured, the last four years with Will,” University of Florida president Bernie Machen said. “He was asked to come here and build a program. A program built on character and good academic values. He was asked to develop young men that would be a credit to the Gator Nation. He has done that.”

“He gave his heart and soul to this program, he loves this university; as you all know he grew up following the Gators, he loves the Gators, and everybody in the program was in the fox hole with him,” UF Athletic Director Jeremy Foley added. “We respected him as a coach and as a person, and he respected all of us for the support we gave his program.  He is as fine of a person as you could ever meet and a friend to all of us. Will Muschamp is a good, good person.”

However, as much as everyone would have liked for him to, he was unable to win enough games to keep his job. He was let go Sunday morning following Florida’s 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina. Muschamp took full accountability for the situation and feels that he has been treated fairly.

“I was given every opportunity to get it done here and I simply didn’t win enough games, that is the bottom line. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get it done and it is my responsibility to get it done.”

“You can work really hard and you can be really diligent at what you do, but you have to have results in life,” Muschamp emphasized. “Whether you’re in the business world or whether you’re in the coaching profession it really doesn’t matter. Players tell me all the time, ‘Well, I’m trying hard, well I know but you’re not producing so we have to go with someone else. That’s the message I have for the team – you have to produce in life. If you’re a salesman you have to sell; if you’re a football coach then you need to win, and that’s the bottom line.”

Meanwhile, Muschamp elaborated on how difficult and heartbreaking it is to leave his football team; the young men that he has instilled life lessons to about school, football, family and learning the importance of fighting through adversity.

Throughout the countless amount of hours on the gridiron, team meetings, the locker room, or on the bus, he emphasized on how he looks at this group of guys, as his own sons.

“I have great relationship with the guys on this team, and that’s always tough. Whether it’s the first year or the fourth year. It will always be tough to know that you won’t be on the field with those guys again. These guys have given a lot to this University and we need to send them out the right way.”

“They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do, as far as on and off the field. I’m going to root for these guys as hard as anybody.  I want the University of Florida to be successful. I’ll always be a Gator, unless I’m on the other sideline. I’ll always want these guys to be successful in what they do and I’ll always be there for them.”

The players resonate with that relationship, and will always admire him for helping them become the young men they are today.

“He can touch each individual on a level deeper than football. I think that speaks to him as a man and who he is. Given the circumstances, everyone feels heartbroken that we’ve lost a mentor figure in our lives. He’s not just a football coach to us,” offensive lineman Chaz Green elaborated.

Muschamp added that he will remain at the helm for the squad’s last-two regular season games against Eastern Kentucky and in-state rival Florida State.

“For the next two weeks, I’m focused on this football team before I even think about moving forward.”

While the search for the next head ball coach is currently underway, Coach Boom left a message for whoever takes over for the Florida Gators.

“They’ve got a deep and talented roster. So don’t let that new guy tell you he doesn’t have any players. I’ll tell you that right now. They’ve got some good football players in their locker room. Special place and special people, and I don’t’ leave with any regrets at all.”

For audio on the above quotes, please click below:

Muschamp on his relationship with players

Muschamp’s message to the team

Muschamp on Gators roster

Muschamp’s message to the team

Foley on Muschamp

Chaz Green on Muschamp’s impact

Posted in College Football, Gator Football | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foley hopes to find a new football coach by December

By on November 18th, 2014

Say what you “will” about Will Muschamp as a football coach, but as a person, there’s not much to criticize. The man has handled all the “Fire Muschamp” chants and constant bashing of him with dignity and class. Monday was no different.

It was the first time that Muschamp and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley addressed the firing publicly since it was announced on Sunday that Coach Boom will not be retained as the head coach next season. Despite the dismissal coming a day after Florida’s gut-wrenching 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina, Foley said it wasn’t an easy decision.

“It may have been the most difficult day of all for us because the type of person Will Muschamp is.”

The impact made by Muschamp was felt well throughout the program, and even the University President, Dr. Bernie Machen, took a moment to appreciate his hard work during his four-year tenure.

“Never have I worked with a coach in any sport, over three different universities, who has been more supportive of the university mission and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Machen said.  “Can you say that someone, who has to leave, has made a positive contribution? And the answer for that is definitely yes for Will Muschamp. In fact, I would love for my son or my grandson to have the opportunity to be coached by Will Muschamp.”

Muschamp had to tell the team the sad news on Sunday afternoon, but his message to them was clear.

“You can work really hard and you can be really diligent in what you do, but you have to have results in life, whether you’re in the business world or whether you’re in the coaching profession. It really doesn’t matter, you have to produce. It’s like the players tell me all the time well I’m trying hard. Well I know, but you’re not producing so we have to go with somebody else. That’s the message I had for them and let’s learn a lesson from it and understand you have to produce in life. If you’re a salesman, you gotta sell. If you’re a football coach, you need to win. That’s bottom line.”

After the way the last two games in the Swamp transpired, Muschamp had a feeling it could happen.

“Certainly after the [South Carolina] game and the way it ended and having two home games in the Swamp and having opportunities to win both games. I certainly knew there was a possibility, there’s no question.”

Despite the news breaking two weeks before the regular season ends, Muschamp doesn’t expect his players to be distracted the final two games.

“Our guys will respond the right way and they’ll handle it with class just like they always have in all situations. It’s important for us to get these seniors a win here in the Swamp and these next two weeks get two W’s.”

Meanwhile, Foley said the search for a new coach has already begun. He also made it clear that the new head-man needs to have an offensive mindset.

“We would obviously like an individual that’s been successful on the offensive side of the ball.  I think obviously that’s what the Gator Nation wants and we see that and that’s what we’re certainly going to try to provide for them.”

The Gator Nation would also love to see the Gators win out and that starts this Saturday against Eastern Kentucky at high noon for Senior Day in the Swamp. It was also be Will Muschamp’s last home game as the coach at Florida, so emotions will be high. You can catch the pregame coverage on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 8 am.

For audio of the above quotes, click below:

Foley on how tough the decision was to let Muschamp go

Machen giving high praise about Muschamp

Machen on Muschamp having made a positive contribution to this program

Will Muschamp on the message he told the players in the team meeting

Will Muschamp on how he had a feeling the dismissal could happen

Will Muschamp knows the players won’t get distracted the last two games

Foley on the new coach needing to be offensive minded

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in College Football, Gator Football | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Machen, Foley, Muschamp All Talk Gator Football Today

By on November 17th, 2014

Despite being let go on Sunday as Gator football coach, Will Muschamp today went about his business, talking about Florida’s next football game against Eastern Kentucky while also talking about his dismissal.

Muschamp said some of the same things he said yesterday in a statement about why he was dismissed.

“You’ve got to win games.   We didn’t get that done.  Very disappointed and frustrated that didn’t happen.”

Muschamp added however that despite not winning enough games, some things did get better.

“But this locker room is better than it was four years ago, there is no question about that and where we’ve come.  I appreciate our players and how they have handled a very difficult season.”

UF athletic director Jeremy Foley spoke to the process of selecting a new coach.

“We would obviously like an individual that’s been successful on the offensive side of the ball.  I think obviously that’s what the Gator Nation wants and we see that and that’s what we’re certainly going to try to provide for them,” Foley said.

Foley added the search would begin immediately but that there is no specific timetable to find a replacement for Muschamp.

 

Posted in Gator Football | Leave a comment

Gator Women’s Hoops Plays Longwood in second game of season today

By on November 17th, 2014

Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler and her team looks to keep its season going in the right direction when they take on Longwood today at 4:15 pm. The team is coming off of an 84-73 win against Jacksonville University where the team’s bench played a large role.

Florida’s bench combined for 38-points in the season opener with 16 coming from junior guard Antoinette Bannister. Along with the performance of non-starters, Butler was also very proud of the way that her team established its presence in the post.

Two weak areas in the team were defense and outside shooting. Florida gave up 73 points and allowed the Dolphins to shoot 46% from behind the arc while the Gators were 1-7 from three in the first half and only 40% from the field.

“Defensively, I think that we rushed a little bit. We didn’t shoot the ball too well from the three [point line] and that’s not something we are really concerned with. We are getting high percentage shots and we have to make those matter,” said Butler.

The team will play in its first ever meeting against Longwood; you can listen to the game right here on ESPN 850 WRUF at 4 pm.

To listen to audio from the story click below:

Butler talks about team’s defense

Posted in Gators Women's Basketball | Leave a comment

Monday Sports Update (11/17)

By on November 17th, 2014

Will Muschamp press conference, Gator sports, NFL, college football and more in a busy Monday Sports Update…

** Today on ESPN 850 WRUF we will broadcast live the press conference featuring Gator football coach Will Muschamp, UF president Bernie Machen and UF athletic director Jeremy Foley…the conference is scheduled to start at noon.

** In other Gator sports, soccer advances in the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 win over Mercer; volleyball clinches a share of the SEC title with a win over Kentucky.

** Both Gator basketball teams play today; the Gator women host Longwood and the Gator men host Miami.

** The Gator men lose Dillon Graham, who has decided to transfer.   The sophomore did play in Florida’s season opening win on Friday but he has played sparingly during his UF career and has battled injuries too.

** In college football, the new non-committee polls are out and FSU is back at number one.    Alabama is two, Oregon is three and Mississippi State falls to four.

** Georgia has now lost star running back Todd Gurley for the season after he tears an ACL in the Bulldog’s big win over Auburn Saturday.   Gurley had just returned from suspension after admitting he took money for autographs.

** In the NFL, the week ends with Monday Night Football tonight as Pittsburgh plays Tennessee.

** Kevin Harvick wins his first Chase for the Cup championship in NASCAR by winning the final race in Homestead, Florida yesterday.

**

Posted in Generic Sports | Leave a comment

Florida Basketball Faces Challenge Against Miami Tonight

By on November 17th, 2014

When the Florida men’s basketball team (1-0) host the Miami Hurricanes (1-0) tonight at the O’Dome, Florida will only have nine scholarship players available to take the court.

It was announced that junior Dillon Graham left the team on Sunday. With Chris Walker serving his last game of a suspension and the ineligibility of transfer big men Alex Murphy and John Egbunu, the Gators now currently lack even further depth off the bench. Additionally, Devon Walker and freshmen Brandone Francis will not be available for the entire season (for injury and academic suspension, respectively).

It gets worse for the Gators as junior Dorian Finney-Smith suffered two hairline fractures in his non-shooting hand during the season-opening win against William & Mary. “Doe-Doe” will be sporting a splint and has been cleared to play but will likely be limited in minutes against the Hurricanes.

With uncertainty surrounding the extent of Finney-Smith’s injury, it remains to be seen if Florida head coach Billy Donovan will place him in the starting frontcourt along side junior sharpshooter Michael Frazier II and Michigan transfer Jon Horford. Kasey Hill and Eli Carter are likely to start at the guard spots.

“It reminds me a little bit of the Wisconsin situation,” said Donovan, referring to playing the Badgers in the second game of the season without Scottie Wilbekin and Dorian Finney-Smith because of off the court issues. “I just think a game like this early in November gives you a really, really good gauge of where you’re at and where you need to get better.”

However, the Hurricanes have a new starting lineup of their own that includes two high profile transfers in Texas transfer Sheldon McClellan and Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez.

Both McClellan and Rodriguez had successful debuts in a Canes uniform. In their season-opening 84-49 victory against Howard, McClellan dropped 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Rodriguez added 16 points and four steals.

“They (Miami) are probably a lot like us,” said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “We lose four starters and we’re kind of working and jelling and meshing and playing together. They add a whole new group of guys with McClellan sitting out (last year) and Rodriguez… so hopefully the game is a game for both teams (so) it’s going to both move us forward in becoming better.”

Miami is coached by fourth year Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga, who led the Canes to a 17-16 record last year. The Gators last played Miami in the 2009 NIT with Florida coming away with the win.

Larranaga also coached the 2006 George Mason “Cinderella” team that reached the Final Four as a No. 11 seed. Donovan and the Gators smashed their glass slipper with a 73-58 win and eventually won the first of two back-to-back national championships.

“I think offensively (Larranaga’s) teams have always been very creative,” Donovan added. “I think he’s always tried to try to, as best as he can as a coach, utilize the personnel that he has and give guys freedom to go play.

Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. from the O’Connell Center; you can hear the game live on Country 103-7 The Gator starting at 6:25 pm.

To hear the audio from the story, click below:

Donovan on the benefits of playing a tough team early in the year

Donovan on the similarities between his team and Miami’s team

Donovan on Miami’s offense

 

 

 

Posted in College Basketball, Gators Men's Basketball | Leave a comment

Florida advances in NCAA Tournament, Beat Mercer in Opening Round

By on November 17th, 2014

The Florida Gator soccer team shut out the Mercer Bears 3-0 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday afternoon in Gainesville.

Senior midfielder Annie Speese drew first blood for the Gators with a goal in the 19th minute. Senior outside back Tessa Andujar sent a cross into the box and Speese finished with a powerful volley from 12 yards out. Florida went into the half with a 1-0 lead.

The Gators sealed the win with a pair of goals courtesy of sophomore forward Savannah Jordan. She scored in the 82nd minute and 91st minute, notching her 16th and 17th goals of the year.

“I definitely think we had control of the game,” said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh. “Particularly in the second half, it was really dominant defensively for us. I think our style of play wore them down a little bit. They (Mercer) were chasing the ball for a really, really long time and I think that’s why it opened up late for us.”

Florida had 10 days of rest after getting upset early in the SEC tournament. Because they were bounced early, the team had extra time to work on their game and rest their legs.

“We tried really hard to get the best of both worlds in terms of the rest and recovery that we needed and combine that with competition,” Burleigh said. ” I thought for our plan for that interval was really detailed and it kind of gave us the best of both worlds.

“I actually think that the situation we faced in Orange Beach was a really blessing for us,” added Burleigh.

Next, the Gators will host the California Golden Bears in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played on Friday, November 21st at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium at 7 p.m.

For audio from the story, click below:

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh on the layoff leading off into NCAA Tournament

Burleigh on the victory

Burleigh on the team’s depth

 

 

Posted in Gator Soccer | Leave a comment

Gators Top Kentucky on Road, Clinch Share of 2014 SEC Crown

By on November 17th, 2014

The seventh ranked Florida volleyball squad topped 15th ranked Kentucky 3-1 at Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon in Lexington to clinch at least a share of the 2014 SEC title — its 21st league championship in school history.

The Orange and Blue used double-digit kills from three players, 10 blocks and a gritty performance all-around for its 16th straight win as the Gators improved to 21-3 overall and an undefeated 15-0 in SEC play this season.

With a three-match lead now over UK in the SEC standings — and three more SEC contests remaining — one more conference win for the Gators would give Florida the 2014 crown outright.

Florida improved to 4-2 this season against top-25 opponents with the four-set win over the Wildcats (25-19, 14-25, 25-21, 25-16).

Freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan (15), sophomore right side Alex Holston (15) and junior middle Simone Antwi (10) all had double-digit kills for the Gators, while senior Taylor Unroe scooped up 10 digs for the Orange and Blue, her second-most in SEC play this season. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino dished out 47 assists, posted three blocks and scooped up eight digs to contribute all over the floor. Alhassan and Holston led UF with four blocks each, while Holston served up three of UF’s five service aces.

Gator head coach Mary Wise credited her entire squad for coming together to overcome issues on the court.

“There are so many pieces to this victory because so many different players contributed to this win,” Wise said. “To beat a top-25 team on the road, that’s what it takes.”

Florida will now head to Ole Miss and Arkansas next weekend before returning home for South Carolina. First serve between the Gators and Rebels is 7:30 p.m Friday, while Florida and Arkansas will match up at Arkansas at noon.

You can catch all these matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.

For post game comments from coach Wise, click below:

Wise recaps the match against Kentucky

Wise talks about the play of Alex Holston

Wise talks about the team coming together for the victory

Wise on winning a share of the SEC title

Posted in Gator Volleyball | Leave a comment