People will be wondering for a long time what Florida coach Billy Donovan was thinking on the Gators last possessions of regulation and overtime in their 74-71 loss to Butler in the Southeast region final.
Florida got the ball with 30 seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 60-60. Instead of trying to get the ball inside where they dominated all game. Donovan allowed Erving Walker to dribble the clock down and then he launched a long jumper from way beyond the arc with a man in his face and missed badly as time ran out. He had missed eight straight shots before that attempt.
A similar thing happened in overtime when Kenny Boynton shot a long ill advised jumper from way behind the arc with his team trailing 72-71 and 19 seconds left. The shot clock was off and he could’ve worked for a better shot. He missed, Butler knocked in two free throws and then Walker missed a trey.
“I think you want to put the ball in a guy's hands that you feel like can make that kind of shot. I thought in regulation we got Erving Walker a great look,” Donovan said. “I was blocked off. I think Chandler kind of ran in front of me so I couldn't see how clean it was, and he told me he had a great look, he was really wide open, and he was disappointed he missed that one…..He’s made big shots for us, and
"I would’ve probably have liked to seen Kenny drive the ball when we were down by one. But you know he’s another guy that’s made some big shots for us.”
Florida is now 4-1 all-time in Regional Final games. The Gators had advanced to the Final Four in each of their previous Regional Finals appearances - 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2007. The Gators won national championships in 2006 and 2007.
The overtime contest, paired with Florida’s overtime win over BYU on Thursday, marked the first time since the 1990-91 season that Florida reached overtime in consecutive games. During that season, Florida posted back-to-back road wins against Mississippi and Auburn in SEC play.
Florida is now 32-14 all-time in NCAA Tournament play (16 appearances), including a 25-9 mark under current head coach Billy Donovan.
Florida ends the season with wins in 16 of their last 20 games. Their only losses during that stretch are to Mississippi State, Kentucky (twice) and now Butler.
The game marked the first time in the 2011 tournament that Florida did not shoot at least 45 percent from the floor. The Gators finished 25-of-57 (43.9 percent) from the floor against Butler.
Florida finished the season as the only team in the nation not to have a player foul out during the course of the year.
The game marked the third time that Florida and Butler have met in basketball. All three match-ups have come in the NCAA Tournament with Florida winning the first two contests. The Gators claimed a 69-68 overtime win over Butler in the 2000 NCAA First Round and a 65-57 win over the Bulldogs in the 2007 Sweet 16.
Florida is now 14-14 in overtime contests under Donovan, including a 4-2 mark in overtime games this season.
Vernon Macklin led Florida with 25 points, bettering his career high of 23 scored earlier this season against Georgia. Alex Tyus added 14 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double and fifth of the season.
UF started game 12-of-12 from the FT line but hit just six of their last 10.