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February 19, 2007
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Donovan said Monday he had no problem with what transpired between Noah and Commodores coach Kevin Stallings two days earlier. Stallings grabbed the basketball near his bench under the basket and refused to give it to Noah for an inbound pass. Noah reached for it again, and Stalling swatted his hand away.
"Obviously, Kevin had the ball and Jo tried to get it to inbound it, and I don't think there was anything that was that bad to me as a coach," Donovan said. "I've got great respect for Stallings. He and I have a good relationship. I think if there was an issue for me, and for him, he and I would address it and talk about it. We haven't. He acted like it was no big deal after the game. After watching it, I don't think it's any big deal."
Noah agreed, even though he said Stallings barked something at him as he attempted to get the ball.
"It's over with," Noah said. "I'm not really supposed to talk about it. All I can say is that ... I feel like people are just trying to get in my head. It's corny, but it's OK. Whatever. I'm over it. At the end of the day, if he tried to take the ball away from me, I wouldn't let him get it, either. I think that people are just trying to get in my head, and I'm not going to let that happen. They got us this time. Hopefully we get a chance to see them again in the (Southeastern Conference) tournament."
Stallings said Monday that "it's something that happened in the heat of the moment."
"I haven't heard anything from anybody," Stallings said when asked whether the league had commented on his actions. "That's not the story of the game. The story of the game is how our team played."
The usually outspoken Noah seemingly held back several times when asked about what happened.
"I would have been laughing about it if we were winning," Noah said. "But we were losing. I just wanted to get the ball and play basketball, but he's a tough guy."
The Gators (24-3, 11-1), who dropped from first to third in the latest Associated Press poll Monday, had another problem after the game when fans rushed the court.
Freshman guard Brandon Powell allegedly threw a punch during Vanderbilt's on-court celebration.
Donovan said the team video showed Powell getting pushed while trying to get off the court.
"I don't think anybody was trying to hurt anybody," Donovan said. "I think (he) kind of got hit from the front and obviously used his hands to defend himself and get out of there. I think that issue is really not a Florida issue. I think it's a Vanderbilt issue. It's a Vanderbilt administrative issue.
"It's not our home court. It's nothing that we're in charge of. I think it's Vanderbilt's responsibility to make sure that we, as an opposing team, get to and from the court safely. It's unfortunate situation that they have to deal with that."
The SEC was reviewing the situation Monday.
Powell could get suspended. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, could get fined for allowing fans to rush the court. The Commodores were fined $5,000 by the league in March 2005 after fans stormed the court following a win against Wichita State. According to league rules, a second violation is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000.
"I'm probably against that as much as anybody could be," Stallings said. "Unfortunately it's something that happened. I don't like the situation that it puts players in, particularly players for opposing teams."
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who criticized security measures at Georgia and Tennessee in recent years, wouldn't say whether the Gators issued a formal complaint to the league.
"I've said all I'm going to say about the issue," Foley said.For more coverage of the Florida Gators, check out GatorBait.net, and for more on the Vanderbilt Commodores, check out VandySports.com.