It was a good start for the Cats as they were able to jump out to the quick 8-2 lead.
Florida was able to get going quickly though and cut the lead to 14-13 at the under 12 media timeout.
Kentucky held a 21-18 lead after an Immanuel Quickley layup, but unfortunately, Nick Richards picked up his second foul with over 6 minutes left in the half which hurt Kentucky’s offense.
Despite a few breakdowns, the Cats were locked in defensively which kept this one close in the minutes without Richards.
Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey were both outstanding in the first half and a three by Hagans gave the Cats a 31-28 lead with a minute left.
Florida freshman Ques Glover took one shot in the first half and it was a three at the buzzer that sent the game into halftime tied at 31.
The second half didn’t get off to a good start for the Cats, as Florida quickly ran out to a 40-33 lead.
Kentucky was able to answer after two and-ones by Quickley and a tough layup by Maxey in transition gave the Cats a 41-40 lead.
The Cats trailed 44-41 before Quickley erupted with three straight 3’s to put Kentucky up 50-44 forcing Florida to take a timeout.
After the 9-0 run by Quickley alone, the scoring slowed down as each team scored 2 points over the next three minutes and it was 52-46 with just under 8 minutes to play.
Florida never let go of the rope, but a career high 26 from Quickley fueled the Cats in a 65-59 win.
Here are the best Twitter reactions:
Nate Sestina honored for 1,000 points before the National Anthem pic.twitter.com/5HEdmDMErm— Travis Graf (@Trav_Graf) February 22, 2020
Fans booing Kerry Blackshear at every opportunity. Of course, he picked Florida rather than UK as transfer destination from Virginia Tech.— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) February 22, 2020
Welcome to the game, Nick Richards. Thunder dunk, foul drawn, then foul drawn again (on Blackshear) as he slings in a long hook shot over him for the and-one.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 22, 2020
As big as this game is to Kerry Blackshear, you know Nick Richards wants to prove something as well. Those two are going at it.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) February 22, 2020
Kentucky’s outside shooting struggles continue at Rupp.— Travis Graf (@Trav_Graf) February 22, 2020
Ah, yes, my favorite past time. Team comes into Rupp and hits more threes than they’re normally capable of doing.— Ian Teasley (@ianteasley) February 22, 2020
Kentucky hit just one three-pointer and have a combined zero rebounds from Nick Richards, EJ Montgomery, and Nate Sestina at the half.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 23, 2020
Almost impressive to be tied right now.
Final | Kentucky 65, Florida 59— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) February 23, 2020
Immanuel Quickley: 26 pts (4-6 3P), 2 reb, 3 stls
Tyrese Maxey: 13 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast, 2 stls
Nick Richards: 9 pts, 6 reb
Ashton Hagans: 7 pts, 4 ast, 3 stls
EJ Montgomery: 6 pts, 2 reb, 2 blk
Keion Brooks: 2 pts, 3 reb
Nate Sestina: 2 pts
Shout out to the dude who told me UK needed to work on their free throw shooting the other day— Dr.SicilianoCalipari (@TheErinCalipari) February 23, 2020
Ten straight games for UK shooting 75% or better at the FT line.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 23, 2020
John Wall is the Y. Rupp Arena is loud about it. pic.twitter.com/LoLnJvqh6x— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 23, 2020
Quckley with another THREEEE, and Maxey shoves him in celebration into the million-dollar seats.— John Huang (@KYHuangs) February 23, 2020
I love Kentucky Basketball. Like.......LOVE it. It gives me life.— Brandon Patterson (@brandonpatt) February 23, 2020
John Wall the official hype man for Immanuel Quickley today... pic.twitter.com/V3fhDyXOtB— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 23, 2020
Hagans with a huge steal and then walks the tightrope to stay in bounds and find Maxey for a layup.— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) February 23, 2020
That steal is why, even with the Turnovers, Ashton Hagans is so valuable— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 23, 2020
Hagans comparison..... TBH, this is a pretty brilliant take https://t.co/uZPH6yMpQS— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) February 23, 2020
Immanuel Quickley— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) February 23, 2020
Immanuel Quickley is averaging 15.5 points per SECOND HALF in the last six games. Closer.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 23, 2020
If Cal doesn't spend half of the next practice implementing inbounds plays he has lost his mind— Dustin Wade Cordell (@DCordell_BFTBG) February 23, 2020
WHEW!!!!— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 23, 2020
Really good win
Quickley was awesome
Please Calipari, work on a Press Offense
Kentucky has now won six straight and 14 of its last 16.— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) February 23, 2020
Cats get it done even after some bad turnovers at the end. Congrats to coach Cal and BBN.— Rich Brooks (@UKcoachbrooks) February 23, 2020