After a series of rough and tumble brawls on the road, the UK Hoops team returned to the comfortable confines of Memorial Coliseum and a rare win by a considerable margin over the Florida Gators.
Kentucky jumped out to a 20-12 lead after one-quarter, survived a Florida run that cut the margin to four at the half, 31-27, and outscored the Gators by 15 in the second half, 36-21. Matthew Mitchell even had the opportunity to empty the bench in the 67-48 victory.
The 19-point triumph is Kentucky's 19th on the season against eight losses. Their 10-4 conference record is good for a half-game lead over Texas A&M for third place in the SEC standings.
Akhator Balled Out
This writer's admiration for Evelyn Akhator's effort this season is well-documented and in her second to last game at home in a Kentucky uniform turned out to be a beautiful performance.
Akhator commanded the post against the Florida, hitting 8-of-10 shots from the field and finishing 3-of-5 from the free throw line for 19 total points. She also snagged nine rebounds, assisted on two baskets, and stole the ball three times.
Though she has only worn the blue and white for two seasons, Akhator's high energy play and even higher level of character is something to celebrate on Thursday against Mississippi State on Senior Day.
It Was A Total Team Effort for the Cats
The game was not a one-woman show, however. Makayla Epps and Maci Morris each scored in double figures. Morris had an off day from beyond the arc, 1-of-5, but faired much better on the inside (6-of-9). She finished with 15 points and three rebounds. Epps shot 6-of-15, 2-of-6 from deep, good for 14 points that paired nicely with three rebounds and three assists.
Point guard Taylor Murray struggled to score, four points on 2-of-7 shooting, but she dished out an impressive 11 assists and picked the Gator's pocket for four steals.
Kentucky Out Worked Florida As Well
During their current winning streak, Kentucky's willingness to get their hands dirty has given them the edge over their foes. Against Florida, it was same old same old.
Kentucky stayed out foul trouble and sent the Gators to the line only seven times. They outrebounded Florida 30-28, turned them over 23 times, and won the assist battle 18-11.
The Cats appear to be peaking at just the right time of the season, and they will need the extra effort with games against Mississippi State and South Carolina on the horizon.