The Florida Gators men’s basketball team (15-8, 6-4 SEC) fell to the Kentucky Wildcats (17-6, 7-3 SEC) on the road in Lexington, Kentucky at 80-61 on Saturday night in Rupp Arena.
Starting at the tip Kentucky’s determination to win gave them charge of the game and the first basket. Initially, it looked like Florida was going to keep it close with a basket by Dorian Finney-Smith, tying the game up at 2 just over 40 seconds in.
However, the Gators would not see another tie for the remainder of the game as the Wildcats pulled away starting with an 8-0 run, ending with a 10-2 lead and 18:06 left in the half. A pair of free throws from John Egbunu cut their lead down to six, keeping Florida within reach of stealing back the game.
Refusing to give Florida a fighting chance, Kentucky did not allow the Gators to make many shots. That, combined with Florida’s poor shot selection allowed the Wildcats to get as high as a 24-point lead in the first half ending at 41-17 with just 5:45 to go before halftime.
Just when the game was looking grim for the Gator nation, Florida dished out an 11-0 run ending with 2:34 left in the first. However, their offensive rhythm dissipated just as quickly as it was formed, and the Gators allowed an 8-0 Wildcat run ending at 50-29 with just seven seconds on the clock.
This is when freshman guard KeVaughn Allen decided to take matters into his own hands. He launched a basket from downtown at the buzzer to bring the score to 50-32 as they headed to the locker rooms for halftime.
Despite having the momentum shift in their favor in the finals seconds of the first half, the Gators couldn’t capitalize on it coming into the second half. The Wildcats started off the half with an 8-0 run that was cut off by a Doe-Doe dunk with 18:04 left on the clock.
Kentucky was able to get a peak lead at 26 points before the Gators decided it was time to get back to work. Florida managed to cut down the Wildcats lead to 16 points thanks to Devin Robinson getting a hot hand with back-to-back-to-back baskets leaving the score at 67-51 with 10:55 to play.
From there, the Gators managed to not allow the Wildcats to get their 20-point lead back for the remainder of the game. This game would just have to serve as a lesson for the Florida Gators men’s basketball team as they were just unable to find an offensive rhythm.
The Wildcats held on to their record of not losing three games in a row under head coach John Calipari as they knocked down the Gators at home by 19 points at 80-61.