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January 8, 2014

Notebook: Harris, Wilbekin and more



For the most part, Florida rolled through South Carolina just as the No. 10 team in the nation and the target-wearer in the Southeastern Conference should. After all, the Gamecocks have the look of a bottom-feeder in 2014, young and error-prone.

Maybe that was the biggest problem, the driving issue behind a game that was surprisingly in doubt early in the second half even though South Carolina once went nine minutes and 23 seconds without a field goal.

"There's a recurring theme that when we're playing against a team that we know we're better than on paper and they don't have the best record, we allow human nature to kick in and have a mindset of 'relax a little bit' instead of having that killer mindset of keep pushing and pursue greatness," senior center Patric Young said. "We've got to get better at that for sure. In order to be great, you've got to keep pursuing it."

The contagious funk isn't lost on Billy Donovan, who found more reasons to pick at his team after another somewhat uninspiring victory against an overmatched opponent.

Always one to reminisce over the past, Donovan pointed to past players like Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario saying they had sustained intensity and a constant drive to turn the current lead into a bigger one. He doesn't see that with his current group.

"We inevitably have let teams get back into games," Donovan said. "To me, we're going to have to do something to get that resolved and corrected. I don't know what the solution is. We've got to find some way because it's kind of becoming a theme that I'm really starting to get irritated by."

Florida snapped out of it, eventually cruising to a 74-58 win. But the brief struggle was enough to concern Donovan and his players with tougher games ahead.

-- DISMISSAL REVERSED --

Donovan's postgame press conference had just ended when he abruptly dropped a major announcement . Junior forward Damontre Harris, previously dismissed from Florida last month for undisclosed reasons, has been readmitted and started spring semester classes this week.

Harris, who Donovan had criticized for not attending classes and not communicating with coaches or teammates, will not play in 2014 but will be given a chance to earn his way back on to Florida's team. Donovan compared it to the situation Scottie Wilbekin went through last summer.

"If he's ever able to play here, he knows exactly what he needs to do," Donovan said. "This was all his decision of really being pretty persistent with me over the holidays saying that he feels like he's made a huge mistake and Florida basketball is all he's got and he really needs our help. He understands the criteria and the ground work that needs to be done. He understands what we expect out of him.

"He said he will do those things to the best of his ability. He's not playing this year, and he's aware of that. He's going to try to work his way back. It's going to be a long road for him. Whether or not he can do it, we'll see. But he wants to give it a shot, and I figured I'd like to help him and see what he can do. He did have the opportunity to leave and go somewhere, potentially play right away. Some NAIA school or some other Division I schools.

"But as of right now, he wants to be here. So he's in school."

-- ANOTHER ANKLE --

Wednesday's win was not without setback. With 2:50 remaining in the game, Wilbekin drove into the lane and went up for a layup. The shot was blocked, and Donovan was immediately upset with Wilbekin's decision until he saw Wilbekin land awkwardly on his right leg. Then, the look turned to concern.

Wilbekin immediately grabbed his right ankle and was helped off the floor, unable to put weight on his right foot.

"I would say right now, probably questionable for Saturday," Donovan said. "They took him off the court and iced him immediately. I'd say right now he's probably out for (Thursday's) practice, and we'll see where he's at Friday."

The injury came at the end of a positive 17-point, turnover-free night for Wilbekin after being challenged by Donovan in recent weeks. Unfortunately for the senior point guard, it was the one play most will remember.

"It had nothing to do with him being in the game," Donovan said of Wilbekin playing late with a 23-point lead. "It had much more to do with him listening. One of the things we've talked about is him constantly going down the lane off one leg. He never really makes that shot."


Official Basketball Box Score
South Carolina vs Florida
1/8/14 7 p.m. at Stephen C. O'Connell Center


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VISITORS: South Carolina 7-7, 0-1 SEC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
21 HENRY, Demetrius.... f  1-2    0-0    0-3    0  1  1   4   2  1  1  0  0  23
25 KACINAS, Mindaugas.. f  2-2    0-0    2-2    2  2  4   4   6  0  3  0  1  20
00 THORNWELL, Sindarius g  3-5    2-2    2-4    0  4  4   3  10  1  4  0  3  27
01 WILLIAMS, Brenton... g  4-10   2-6    0-0    0  1  1   3  10  1  2  0  3  25
10 NOTICE, Duane....... g  2-4    1-2    3-5    1  0  1   0   8  3  5  0  0  33
04 JOHNSON, Tyrone.....    3-10   0-0    6-7    3  3  6   1  12  2  3  0  0  27
05 SHAW, Jaylen........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   7
14 CHATKEVICIUS, L.....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  1  0  0   2
24 CARRERA, Michael....    1-3    0-0    1-2    2  2  4   0   3  1  1  0  0  16
32 RINGER, Desmond.....    2-4    0-0    3-3    1  3  4   4   7  0  1  0  0  20
   TEAM................                            3  3
   Totals..............   18-41   5-10  17-26   9 19 28  20  58  9 21  0  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  6-19 31.6%   2nd Half: 12-22 54.5%   Game: 43.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-2  50.0%   2nd Half:  4-8  50.0%   Game: 50.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-15 53.3%   2nd Half:  9-11 81.8%   Game: 65.4%    3


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: Florida 12-2, 1-0 SEC
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
15 Yeguete, Will....... f  2-2    0-0    4-7    0  0  0   3   8  1  1  0  0  19
24 Prather, Casey...... f  5-5    0-0    3-5    0  2  2   2  13  3  2  1  2  18
04 Young, Patric....... c  6-7    0-0    1-2    1  6  7   2  13  0  2  0  3  24
05 Wilbekin, Scottie... g  5-11   3-6    4-4    1  0  1   1  17  3  0  0  1  34
20 Frazier, Michael.... g  3-8    2-7    0-0    1  3  4   2   8  1  1  0  1  29
00 Hill, Kasey.........    1-4    0-3    3-4    0  2  2   3   5  2  2  0  2  20
10 Finney-Smith, Dorian    3-6    0-2    2-2    1  3  4   3   8  5  4  2  0  24
11 Edwards, Lexx.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
25 Walker, DeVon.......    1-2    0-1    0-0    1  3  4   1   2  0  1  1  1  19
30 Kurtz, Jacob........    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  2  0  0  10
42 Donovan, Billy......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  1  0  0  0   2
   TEAM................                            1  1
   Totals..............   26-45   5-19  17-24   5 20 25  19  74 16 15  4 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-25 48.0%   2nd Half: 14-20 70.0%   Game: 57.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-10 10.0%   2nd Half:  4-9  44.4%   Game: 26.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  9-13 69.2%   2nd Half:  8-11 72.7%   Game: 70.8%    2


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Officials: Antinio Petty, Ron Groover, Lee Cassell
Technical fouls: South Carolina-None. Florida-None.
Attendance: 12147
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
South Carolina................   21   37  -   58
Florida.......................   34   40  -   74
Record 4,182 students

Points in the paint-SC 16,UF 40. Points off turnovers-SC 13,UF 22.
2nd chance points-SC 3,UF 2. Fast break points-SC 5,UF 20.
Bench points-SC 22,UF 15. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-SC 2nd-00:09, UF 2nd-00:28.
Largest lead-SC None, UF by 23 2nd-04:14.


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