Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

South Regional Notebook; Bench Players Could Be Key

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

South Regional Notebook; Bench Players Could Be Key

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

MEMPHIS, TENN. | The University of Florida will need its bench on Saturday against Dayton in the NCAA South Region finals at the FedEx Forum.

That's because the Flyers almost certainly will get good production out of theirs.

Dayton (26-10) goes at least 11-deep, sending waves of quick players at opponents. Senior forward Devin Oliver leads the team with 29.9 minutes per game (Florida has two starters, Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier, averaging 30 or more minutes per game) and eight of his teammates average 12.8 minutes per game or more.

Dayton's top player off the bench is senior guard Vee Sanford, whose 9.7 points per game is fourth on the team. Four other bench players are shooting 50 percent from the field or better.

In their 82-72 victory over Stanford on Thursday, the Flyers outscored the Cardinal 34-2 on bench points. In three NCAA Tournament games, the edge is 65-19.

Dayton is 22-6 when its bench outscores the opposition's subs.

Flyers coach Archie Miller said it was a simple matter of "leadership and chemistry."

"No one rolls their eyes, no one points their fingers," he said on Friday during a news conference at the FedEx Forum. "They don't argue with each other. It's a unique group."

"The thing that makes them special is they've gotten great production from a lot of different people," Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

Donovan also said it's more than just supplying offense.

"Whether it's been offensive rebounds, a loose ball, a hustle play, somebody knocking down a 3, somebody making a steal ... they've got a lot of versatility," he said

The Gators haven't been shabby in that regard. Florida's bench outscored UCLA 23-11 in its 79-68 victory on Thursday and has a 56-33 edge during the NCAAs. Dorian Finney-Smith is averaging 10.0 points per game and Kasey Hill 6.3 in the tournament.

TIME ON THEIR HANDS

During the NCAA Tournament, media timeouts have been increased to 2 minutes and 20 seconds and halftime from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. …

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