What Todd Golden had to say after Florida's heartbreaking loss to Colorado in March Madness

Following his team's dramatic loss to Colorado in the NCAA Tournament, Florida basketball coach Todd Golden recapped the loss and his team's successful season.
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Indianapolis
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Practice Day - Indianapolis / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Friday, the Florida Gator's basketball season ended in the most heartbreaking of manners. Afterward, head coach Todd Golden spoke to the media about the game and his team's season.

"Incredibly proud of my team," Golden said. "I thought they've been great for us all year. Today was no different. Obviously, we didn't defend the way we needed to to give ourselves a great chance to win."

Defense has certainly been an issue all season for the Gators. In fact, this was the third time this season that an opponent topped the 100-point mark. Back in December, Michigan hung 101 on the Gators but UF prevailed 106-101. In early January, Ole Miss hung a 103-85 loss on the Gators. Friday, that proved to be the downfall of Golden's team again.

However, there was a time in this game when it didn't look like the Gators were going to have a shot to prevail in the end. That's because they had to rally from a large second-half deficit. Golden, obviously was proud of his team's fight.

"Obviously, we just got a little bit more aggressive defensively," he said. "I probably should have got us in that a little earlier.

"With that being said, I, again, thought they kept their composure really well. Even though we were down a little bit and we were struggling, our guys weren't hanging their heads. They were staying positive and staying together.

"Obviously we pressured them. They were throwing the ball around a little bit. We hit some big shots. Did a good job attacking the rim, and obviously Walt hit a huge three to tie that thing up.

"Same story as all year, our team has been pretty resilient. For us to cut that thing and tie it being down 13, I'm really proud of the way we responded."

As so many games in the NCAA Tournament do, this game came down to the final possession. Golden was asked what he saw on the play that sent Colorado to the second round.

"I saw them throw it in to Simpson, and I thought [Zyon Pullin] did an incredible job staying down and staying between him and the basket, and Simpson somehow got about five feet of separation off ZP, and made a really tough skilled shot from the baseline.

"But again, I thought ZP did his job. Stayed in legal guarding position. Stayed between the ball and the basket, and again somehow Simpson just created about seven feet of separation to get that shot off."

Naturally, in a one-score game, every call and every extra possession is magnified. In this game, Golden's technical foul was a controversial moment and he explained what happened.

"Yeah, just a confusing situation," he said. "A very delayed and-one call. Then explained that he tried to blow his whistle but his whistle wasn't working but nobody saw him call a foul until about five seconds after the play.

"I wasn't very happy about it. I thought it was a really -- it's never happened to me in my coaching career where somebody's whistle doesn't work, and then five seconds later we're finding out that it's an and-one, and then he asked me to get in the box, and I said I was in the box and then he gave me a technical. I've had three technicals in my coaching career. He has given me two of them."

Finally, Golden was asked if this game could be a building block for his program as he tries to return the Gators to the top of the college basketball mountain. Naturally, he said that this game is one that will help his team move forward in its growth.

"Really proud of where this program is right now," he said "the way this team has played all year, 24 wins in our league is really hard to do. We obviously had 14 league wins, if you combine the regular season and the SEC tournament, and that's something to be super proud of. And like Tyrese said, my hope is that this will be a building block for the program.

"We're going to miss ZP and Tyrese a lot. They're going to be hard to replace. But the goal is that these younger guys will continue to grow and get better, and we'll find guys that are the right fit with great attitudes and great work ethics and really will want to be Gators. We'll continue to build it that way because it's what I believe in and it's worked for us.

"A good building block season for us, and our hope is to continue to raise the bar as we move forward."