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Florida's Donovan, Beal, Murphy on semifinal matchup with UK

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Fourth-seeded Florida (23-9) survived a would-be game-tying 3-pointer by Trevor Lacey to upend No. 5 seed Alabama, 66-63. Brad Beal led Florida with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Gators connected on 10-of-30 shots from 3-point range.

The win set up the third matchup this season between the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats (31-1) and Gators. UK won each of the first two games by a combined 35 points. In Lexington on Feb. 7, the Cats won 78-58, then completed the regular-season sweep with a 74-59 victory in Gainesville, Fla., less than a week ago.

Following their victory over Alabama, head coach Billy Donovan, Beal and forward Erik Murphy spoke at Florida's press conference. Here's what they had to say about facing UK again:


On ending a three-game losing streak with the win ...

"I know coming into the tournament we lost three games, but I also think sometimes that it can have less to do with you and a lot more to do with your opponent. Certainly you look at what Georgia did last night against Mississippi State, they're a good team. And we could have played well in Athens and still would have lost the game with the way they played. We just didn't play the way I would have liked to have seen us play.   Then we're playing Vanderbilt on senior night with about six guys. They're a really   good team and they have been playing very good basketball since they have gotten their team back   healthy.   Then you come back and you play the number one team in the country at home. I actually thought we played fairly well in both of those games and put ourselves in a position. We had some things that we're going to need to do better, playing Kentucky a third time now, and there was some things we need to do better against Vanderbilt.  But I never felt like our guys lost confidence, or, Geez, when are we going to win? I think that they understood the magnitude of the level of competition in this league coming down the stretch, and in a lot of ways, how it is set up for Vanderbilt and Florida and Kentucky where if you look at that last two weeks, those three teams, we're all playing each other and it was challenging. So our schedule was difficult coming down the stretch as well. But I think our guys, they came to practice, I thought these three days that we had leading up to today were good. I thought our guys were pretty focused. I did sense a little bit from our team playing today that there's just a different atmosphere when you  get to this point in time of the year. I'm not so sure, outside of Erving (Walker) and Kenny (Boynton), if it's not a different feeling for our team. You get a police escort over here and traffic's stopping, you're coming into a different place, you see all the pageantry in the city of New Orleans. I thought our guys, I don't want to say they were nervous, but I think that they were very anxious. And I think that, to me, the greatest sign of your team being anxious is when everybody just looks exhausted and they're running a quick stint. And I think once they caught their breath and settled in, we played a little bit better."

On what Florida's plan of attack will be against Kentucky ...
"The one thing that's good about it is the fact that it's been less than a week since we have last played them. They're obviously a terrific team. There's a reason they're number one in the country. They're  very, very good.  We're playing tomorrow at noon. There's probably not a whole bunch that you're going to be able to tweak and change. I think there's some things that we'll look at, how different we'll  play, I'm not so sure. They're really, really good at looking at just basically when you sub, matchups where they think they have got an advantage. And in those situations, of their five guys, there's going to be somebody on the other team that they feel that they have got an incredible matchup on. And then they really, really try to exploit that, and then what they do is they try to put you in situations where you have to help on that matchup. And then once you start helping on that matchup, it opens up a lot of other things for their team. So there's only so much you can get prepared for. But the good part about it is, like I said, we played them last Sunday and here it is Saturday. So it is less than a week ago."


On facing Kentucky a third time ...
"We're looking forward to playing them. Obviously, it will basically be a road game, but we already played at Rupp (Arena) before. We just got to execute our game plan. And we'll get together tonight as a team and go over what we're going to do against them. We'll try to execute that and just go out there and compete."


On facing Kentucky a third time ...
"We're looking forward to it. Because we get another chance at trying to get a win against them, and it's a great team. And we're going to just listen to what coach tells us to do and go by his game plan and just  focus in mentally and just try to do our best tomorrow."

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