COACH DONOVAN: Congratulations to Michigan. They played a really, really, I thought, a terrific game. They shot the ball very, very well from behind the 3 point line. I thought they capitalized on our turnovers.
I thought we dug ourselves a hole very early in the game because I think to start the game, at one point I think we were like 3 for 17 from the field. And I think in the first half we missed 11 shots within three feet of the basket.
They got off to a hot start and us not being able to manufacture enough points I thought really, really dug us a hole. I thought we got the ball where we wanted to go. They were switching out on the perimeter. We probably needed to have more of a presence at the basket. I thought we got that on some drives and some post feeds, but a lot of times we weren't able to convert.
And then Stauskas, I thought in the first half, because of Burke's penetration and what Burke does, found him and he certainly opened up the game.
I really wish we wouldn't have fouled there at the end of the first half. But I thought our guys to start the second half came out. We battled, we fought, but we hurt ourselves with the way we played. We were making a run on an in bound pass on a made basket. They drive us and I think McGary makes a layup and we throw an in bounds pass right to Albrecht for a layup. It's 4 points in like five seconds. I just didn't think that we did enough things there on both ends of the floor. I thought our defense in the second half was a little bit more characteristic of the way we've played this year. I thought our offense in a lot of ways, because we had some very, very, I thought, good quality looks deflated us around the basket. Especially against a team that's not a great shot blocking team.
Q. The five second sequence, again, did that just kind of was that the back breaker, I guess?
COACH DONOVAN: I think we got it down to 12. Like I said, we had some turnovers, even when we got stops we were careless with the ball. They deflected it, they capitalized and then they scored 16 points on our 15 turnovers.
There was an in bounds pass we threw in a game like this you can't do those things. And those things really hurt us.
And I thought, obviously, Erik had a very, very difficult game. And I feel bad for him being a senior, considering what he's done throughout his career. We went to him early there, to start the game against Robinson. We felt like there was a size advantage and we could get some stuff there. And he just never could really get it going.
And I think Scottie, also, even though he had 7 assists, I thought he struggled at times offensively, just making some decisions and doing those things.
Q. Was Stauskas a result of Burke?
COACH DONOVAN: It's all a result of Burke. It's all a result of Burke. Those guys, they do not have players that really are able to create for themselves.
But what happens is because Burke is such a great scorer I liken it to when we played Florida Gulf Coast with Comer, it's the same thing. Comer gets in there and when he gets into the paint, he's got a good enough size to score and he also can find people.
This adds a different element, because he has such deep range, Burke. Comer couldn't shoot, that wasn't his forte. Now you're playing him at the three point line, he's got such speed and quickness, when he turns a corner you provide help. You've got to give help on McGary rolling to the basket and he skips it across the floor.
Some of the threes that Stauskas got off was our fault and some of it was really, really good offense by them.
Q. Kenny, can you talk about the beginning of that game, really the whole first half. Was it almost surreal to look up and see the score?
KENNY BOYNTON: I think we got off to a slow start. I was disappointed as a team knowing that we were in a situation the game before. And I think it basically it started off with those guys getting out in transition, and we probably have one or two guys back versus four.
So I think it was a whole team effort and getting back in transition. And again, the shooter, I can't pronounce his name, we gave him open looks and he made us pay.
Q. Kenny, obviously being a senior now, it's three times to the Elite 8, didn't quite make it to that next step. What are you going to take out of all this in what you've been able to achieve at the University of Florida?
KENNY BOYNTON: I'm honored to play for Coach Donovan. I think he's the best coach in the country, what he's accomplished. And I've played with great players, I've met some great people. It's players that play college basketball and never make it to the NCAA tournament, so I'm honored to make it to three straight Elite 8's. I'm proud of my team to come this far.
Q. Kenny, on defense you guys have to make choices. Obviously Burke is the guy that had to be defended. Is that what left Stauskas, No. 11, open so often?
KENNY BOYNTON: Yeah, I think it was, you know, Burke would come off a screen and McGary, it would be the wing man's job to kind of stick with McGary for a second until the big guy gets back. I think we over-rotated. And the shooter, he just knocked down shots. I think he made 6 of 6. He shot the lights out.
Q. It seemed like a lot of shots were short today. And again, I know you guys played until 1:30 in the morning Eastern time. Did that have anything to do with it or do you think it was just that you guys came out, looked like a little tight?
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, I don't think so. I think maybe you could talk about that if you had to play a back to back game. We had certainly plenty of time. We had probably maybe two or three hours less rest than Michigan had. Michigan also played an overtime game, we didn't, on Friday night. So I don't think that that was.
I think our guys were really excited to play. They wanted to play well. And sometimes you can want something too bad, maybe. It was really I thought it happened a little bit in the Florida Gulf Coast game. You've got to make some plays around the basket. You've got to put the ball in the basket.
Stauskas you know, Rosario over-helped one time in a wrong position. They found him a couple of times in transition. Really only two times or actually one time in our pick and roll coverage did they kind of get us where our guard had to come over and kind of bump McGary.
But those guys made shots. And sometimes at this point in time in the season you've got to hop up and make some shots. And they made some tough ones and made some difficult ones. I can't even imagine how many shots we had around the basket, driving to the basket, we just did not finish plays at all. And it started right away.
It's really hard when you're going against listen, we've been ranked pretty high all year long in terms of offensive efficiency. I think they're No. 1 in the country. It's really difficult when you go against an offensive efficiency team like that and you start the Game 3 for 17 or 3 for 18 or whatever it was, to overcome that. And then they're shooting a relatively high percentage.
Now, the second half they held the ball a little bit because they were milking the clock. I thought we've played defense a little bit better than we did. Whether or not we were starry eyed. I can't put my finger on it because these guys have been in this situation before. It's not like their first time.
Q. You said yesterday, you called this the best offensive team in the country. A lot of teams get to the Final Four with defense. They're going to face Syracuse's zone. How different are they from the other teams in the Final Four do you think and can that offense make a difference in this tournament?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, I would say this, I think because they're so good offensively, because of Burke, and because they space the floor and they have Hardaway and Stauskas and even Robinson is good enough in terms of putting it down, they don't get enough credit defensively. They're a good defensive team. I wouldn't say they're a great defensive team. But they're good. They're a good, solid defensive team.
But I think because they're so good offensively, people say they're just an offensive team. They play good defense.
In the game we shot 40 percent in the second half and 41 in the first. It wasn't like we really shot it great ourselves. I thought we had some opportunities to hang there, but we were never able to really do it.
Q. Against that zone, though, the 2 3?
COACH DONOVAN: We played some zone, and had some success. We played zone and had success against them in the first half. The reason I played so much zone in the first half was to protect Patric Young. It gave us some good minutes. I thought we got some stops, and we were 9 for 12 to close the half out.
But you know what you're going to have to do against Syracuse is you have to make some shots. If those guys are listen, Stauskas, if he goes 0 for 6, you know, a different game. So if you're going to play against Syracuse, in my opinion, if you're knocking down shots, because you're going to have to make some shots.
Like the one thing with McGary, McGary is not a guy you throw the ball to and post him up. Everything he gets is off of Burke. And when Burke shoots out of pick and rolls, he always has a free run to go offensive rebound. But they're not throwing the ball to McGary and he's working his way around the basket, he's the recipient. He plays that role great. Some of that is going to be taken away, where you're going to have to knock down some shots over the top.
Q. Third time here, Elite 8, the finite difference between being able to make that next step and not being able to do it in the last three years. Would you expound on that, what it's like for you to get that close as a coach?
COACH DONOVAN: Well, it's not really about me. I've been fortunate enough to be there as a player and several times as a coach. I feel more upset for Boynton, Rosario and Murphy who don't get a chance and have come so close. I've experienced the Final Four enough. I want our program to continue to experience it and our players.
This is a totally different feel than the last two. The last two to me we gave ourselves every opportunity to win. The Butler game was an overtime game, the Louisville game was a two point game. This one we didn't play well enough or deserve to win the game. Michigan deserved this game. They played better than us. They performed better. They did things that were necessary to beat us.
The other two games I was heartbroken for our team because we were really, really close. We weren't that close here today. Going in I think at the half down 17 and we cut it to 12, we could never quite get over the hump. But for the most part that game I felt like Michigan outplayed us, which was a little differently, where I said arguably, even though we didn't want get the result against Louisville or Butler, I don't think we were totally outplayed. We gave ourselves a chance. This game we didn't deserve to win the game.
Q. What will you remember about this team? One of your most talented teams, and you didn't have one of your most talented players, but you still got this far?
COACH DONOVAN: Yeah, I think in life it's all how you look at things. It's all how you want to look at things. You can look at the fact that we came so close to getting to a Final Four.
But I would tell you right now maybe more painful than losing an Elite 8 game is losing a National Championship game and I experienced that in 2000. You get that close.
I think what happens is people deem this NCAA tournament journey of different pinnacles. Getting out of the first round, getting to the Sweet 16, getting to the Final Four. At the end of the day for the people that are involved in it and coaching it, there's no easy exit out of the tournament. And you've got to deal with everything. You've got to deal with the highs and the lows of the tournament.
This team I remember Murphy and Boynton coming in and going to two NIT's, back to back. And going from two National Championship teams back to back to two NIT's back to back, to seeing Jimmer Fredette and Boynton as a freshman battle his tail off and foul out of the game and score 26 points in his freshman year, in that game against him.
And then Parsons and Macklin and Boynton and those guys going to the Elite 8 and winning an SEC championship. Last year, same thing, we lose some of those guys. We get back to that point with Beal and Walker and this group. And get back here again. Win a conference championship. There's a lot of really, really good things that these kids have done. And I'll always be thankful and appreciative because they've always handled themselves with class, they've worked hard and given me everything they had.
I wish our team could have played better today for those guys. I wish they could walk out of that locker room and say we played our very best game, did our best and just came up short. I'm not taking anything away from Michigan, because they were terrific today.