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By LARRY VAUGHT
Florida guard Kenny Boynton didnâ€™t have any trouble explaining what was Floridaâ€™s biggest offensive problem in Tuesdayâ€™s 78-58 loss to No. Kentucky.
â€œIt was our defense. Anthony Davis was getting lobs the whole night,â€ said Boynton. â€œUsually when weâ€™re off weâ€™re playing defense and at least getting stops and staying in the game. I think they kept coming back at us transitioning and with offensive rebounds because of Davis.â€
Davis, known more for his defense than his offense, had 16 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He made a nifty dribble to the left and pulled up to hit a 15-foot jump shot and also attempted a left-handed hook shot for the first time this season.â€ˆHowever, again his forte was finishing at the basket. He also had six rebounds and four blocks to increase his total to 120, beste in the nation.
He has now made 30 of his last 38 field goal tries in UKâ€™s last four games and ranks third in the nation in field goal percentage (66.0) and leads the Wildcats in scoring (14.0 points per game), rebounding (10.0) and steals (38) as well as blocked shots.
Davis talked after the game about his play as well as teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and what lies ahead for the Wildcats.
Question: Why does Michael Kidd-Gilchrist always seem to play so well in big games?
Davis: â€œHe is always an energy guy. He is always the guy telling us, â€˜Letâ€™s go. We are in this game.â€™ He is always doing the little things. Rebounding, which he did a great job of tonight. He makes easy plays, looks for other guys. Ballhandling and going the full length of the court. He is just a great player.
â€œHe just has that motor always going. Even if we are struggling, he will get us going. We know he can always take his man off the dribble. We always look for him to get us going and once he does and starts getting the crowd into it, we become a whole different ball club.â€
Question: Does he get better as the stage gets bigger?
Davis: â€œGuarantee you he does. Most definitely.â€
Question:â€ˆWhat does it mean that Florida coach Billy Donovan said he liked this teamâ€™s disposition and way it plays together?
Davis: â€œWe are doing all the right things. We are playing together. Especially when another coach says that, which he is a great club that plays together as well. It is just a great honor and shows the word we are doing things right. They play excellent together. No one was jacking up shots. They were looking for each other. They really had to make us play the whole 40 minutes. It was great going against them. We had great matchups. This team made us better.â€
Question: Did Kentucky want to send message with a big win over a ranked team?
Davis: â€œNo. We just went out there and played hard and did all the things that we were told to do. We came out and executed and started off a little slow, but we always do that. Then we came out and got the win.â€
Question: How hard is it to beat Kentucky when the team shoots 52.7 percent overall and 60 percent from 3-point range?
Davis: â€œItâ€™s very hard, especially when we are driving. We have the lob, the person who is driving has the layup and you have people to kick out for the 3. We have a lot of different weapons and itâ€™s really hard to stop that.â€
Question:â€ˆWasnâ€™t there one play where Florida center Patric Young was so concerned with the lob to you that he let Marquis Teague drive and score on a layup?
Davis: â€œYeah. He actually when we were running back on defense told me and said, â€˜Man, I thought he was going to throw that to you and I was staying on you and I gave up a layup.â€™ I was telling Marquis to do that every time and just go in thinking layup first and then just throw it if need to. We are doing that more.â€
Question: Was the left-hand hook a move you have been working on all along or have you had that shot all along?
Davis: â€œNo, I actually wasnâ€™t holding the ball right. I was too far behind the basket and was trying to adjust myself while I was in the air to try and shoot it over. Iâ€ˆhave been working on that. Me and some other guys have been working on our jump hooks. We know if we get our post game going it will just open things up more for our shooters.â€
Question: So thatâ€™s a shot you will use again?
Davis: â€œYeah, definitely.â€
Question: How do you stay so grounded with all the attention and accolades you receive?
Davis: â€œFirst, all this just started happening for me not to long ago. I know it is easy for all of this to go away. If you start getting big-headed, itâ€™s easy for things to go wrong for you. You have to stay level headed and grounded. If you do that, then great things will come.â€
Question:â€ˆDo you have people like your parents who help you do that?
Davis: â€œMost definitely. They are always telling me that wasnâ€™t good enough and you could do this better or that better. Watch film. Donâ€™t watch the good things, watch the bad things. Always working out. They do a great job for that.â€
Question: Can this team make an even bigger statement now by going to Vanderbilt and also winning Saturday night and if so, what would that say?
Davis: â€œWe are a great team and we play hard. No matter who we are playing, we just try to go out here and do the best we can. Coach Cal says some teams are worried about losing. We are not worried about losing. We are worried about getting better. When it comes down to tournament time, then we will be ready for that time.â€
Question: Can this team still play better than it has?
Davis: â€œWe still had some mistakes. We will watch film Thursday and see what we did wrong, but we did a good job on the defensive end, though.â€