It seems like an eternity, but not long ago, this same Kentucky Wildcats team started conference play 3-0 before a big showdown with Alabama.
The Cats weren’t up to that challenge that day, and the season quickly tanked after the loss.
The stage on Saturday’s was set similarly, as UK put their three-game winning streak on the line inside Rupp Arena.
No matter the result, I anticipated Twitter would be an emotional place for Kentucky fans this afternoon.
Early on, the vibes were terrific after a fast start fueled by BJ Boston and Davion Mintz. It’s clear that this new run and gun style offense is proving to transform UK’s entire offensive approach.
Kentucky would go on to score 39 points in the first half.
Despite playing swarming defense for a good portion of the first 20 minutes, a Florida run cut the lead to just one point.
Things didn’t come easy in half number two, but if nothing else, the Cats fought all day long.
The game went back and forth with both teams responding to runs from the opposing side.
A Jacob Toppin put back slam gave the Cats a 63-62 lead at the under four minute timeout.
The stage was set.
Despite this game not meaning much in terms of Kentucky’s postseason future, it still had the feel of a very important last four minutes.
After clawing to the end, it just wasn’t enough and Kentucky falls to Florida.
Again — this doesn’t matter much, but it’s definitely deflating to come up short after so much momentum has been built the past few weeks.
Davion Mintz balled out and finished with 21 points.
Here’s what Twitter had to say about the heartbreaker.
Thank you, @KentuckyMBB Senior Class of 2021 pic.twitter.com/uDwzmRvrxS— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 27, 2021
My timeline is BIG mad about this game bleeding over. I sorta get it but, y'all, they're making the fans in that arena sit and do nothing just so you don't miss tip.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) February 27, 2021
Did CBS just say screw it you don't matter Arizona-Washington? pic.twitter.com/cew7ddL4dn— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) February 27, 2021
Haha CBS just switched to the C-A-T-S!!! Money talks. I love it! https://t.co/xgyI8evrmg— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) February 27, 2021
That's a three minute stretch Riley Welch will never forget.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) February 27, 2021
Let the record show: when Riley Welch came out of the game on his Senior Day, Kentucky has a lead.— Wu-Tang Dave (@WuTangDaveBBN) February 27, 2021
Cool to see Riley Welch get minutes— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 27, 2021
Also cool to see BJ Boston taking up for Welch when ghe Fla player was being a little disrespectful to Him
That Florida player had one thing to say about Riley and the whole squad ready to throw hands. That’s love.— Jesse Riffe (@JesseRiffe) February 27, 2021
BJ Boston has already matched his scoring total from last Saturday's game at Tennessee. Has 6 points in the first 3 minutes.— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) February 27, 2021
Mintz is really feeling it now!!— Keith Farmer (@KeithFarmer18) February 27, 2021
Game time in Rupp Arena. UK leads Florida 13-5 with 15:23 left in the first half. @KYKernelSports @KyKernel @braden_ramsey pic.twitter.com/MxtiQvFzVd— Michael Clubb (@MichaelClubb4) February 27, 2021
Davion Mintz pulls up for 3 on the break. You think he's feeling it??— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) February 27, 2021
For the love of Rupp, come back Mintz— Dubbs09 (@Dubbs_09) February 27, 2021
Kentucky has started this game shooting 7 of 11 from the field.— Cats Coverage (@CatsCoverage_) February 27, 2021
BJ Boston has a wing 3-pointer, a 3-point play and 3 FTs on a 3-shot foul, now 9 points in 8 minutes. Kentucky leads 23-14.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 27, 2021
Isaiah Jackson footsteps may be the scariest footsteps....— Bryan Kennedy (@BKennedyTV) February 27, 2021
Technical foul on Florida coach Mike White with 10:52 left in 1H.— John Clay (@johnclayiv) February 27, 2021
Not sure why Mike White is complaining. Florida got away with an offensive foul on the layup attempt.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) February 27, 2021
Idk how much Mike White is getting paid but it’s too much— Mitch Handegan (@WeWantMitch) February 27, 2021
Kentucky defense is on— Bradley McKee (@Bradley_B_Roll) February 27, 2021
Kentucky’s doing some great stuff, particularly defensively, but negating it with turnovers. Florida capitalizing with three-three-dunk. Two-point game, 26-24.— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) February 27, 2021
Case of the butterfingers and the Cats lead is just 2 in the blink of an eye.— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) February 27, 2021
10 point lead evaporated after 4 straight TOs. maybe should have called a timeout earlier.— Kelly (@Deuz) February 27, 2021
Led by 10— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 27, 2021
Now just two
Need a timeout. pic.twitter.com/q4vcaQBRtp
Against a 3-2 zone pass to the middle then have a cutter on the baseline. It’s a layup every time. We are standing around the perimeter without a clue of what to do.— Dad of Queens (@jrasmussbbn) February 27, 2021
Dunking play really working for Florida today.— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) February 27, 2021
Mike Whites technical paying off getting the no calls and touch fouls since..— Roger Harden (@HardenRoger) February 27, 2021
Livin' large at the line.— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 27, 2021
14 of 15 from the charity stripe.
We've got a 33-30 lead with 3:58 until we break for the half. pic.twitter.com/HVBdyQbl32
I swear there have been more dunks in this Kentucky-Florida game than Louisville has had all year.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) February 27, 2021
Kentucky: *Needs a bucket*— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) February 27, 2021
Davion Mintz: Bet.
Florida played at a pretty high level for a lot of that half. Seemed like every Gator bucket was a highlight reel play. UK must get back to attacking UF early in possessions— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) February 27, 2021
HALFTIME: Kentucky 39, Florida 38— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 27, 2021
Mintz leads Cats with 13 points.
UK led by 10 but made only 1 bucket from 13:59 to :50. Maintained the lead by going 16/17 at FT line. pic.twitter.com/riBvdDjw3p
Couple of tough twos allowed UK to get the lead back, but feels like UK needs Isaiah Jackson on the floor to win this game. Gators got to the rim way too easy as the 1H closed.— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) February 27, 2021
The zone definitely threw Kentucky off but things changed on the defensive end when Jackson picked up his 2nd foul. Florida really attacked the rim when he was out.— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) February 27, 2021
Other than Riley Welch's Senior Day start, Calipari sticking with the 7-man rotation.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) February 27, 2021
Minutes: Mintz 19, Sarr 18, Boston 17, Brooks 14, Askew 14, Toppin 7, Jackson 6. (Askew and Jackson with 2 fouls).
Dontaie Allen checks in at the 17:49 mark of the second half. Has played a total of 5 minutes in Kentucky's last two games combined.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) February 27, 2021
Cats have hit 60 of their last 65 at FT line over last three games. Last year's team was the best FT shooting team I've covered at UK. This one is starting to look like them.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 27, 2021
MEDIA TO (15:47, 2H): UK leads 46-44, but Isaiah Jackson was just called for an offensive foul. He's got three in the game.— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) February 27, 2021
UK is plus-12 with Jackson on the floor.
It’s clear Jackson’s presence is important.. only played 6 min in that opening half and has been physical to start this second half.. he’s built different— Eli Gehn (@EliGehnTV) February 27, 2021
Kentucky 2-12 in the 2nd half - on an 0-7 streak. pic.twitter.com/ArnxgDJWvV— ESPN Radio Lexington (@ESPNRadioLex) February 27, 2021
I'm confident enough to double down on Devin Askew down the stretch. He is this team's Point Guard. There just aren't many options. There will be ups and downs. We want and NEED him in down the stretch. Tie game with 12:00 minutes left. Let's win a game!— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) February 27, 2021
I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really wanna see Mintz back in a Kentucky jersey next season.— Things #BBN Likes (@ThingsBBNLikes) February 27, 2021
The @SEC refs have officially taken over the @KentuckyMBB @GatorsMBK game. This is unbelievable.— Second Take (@SecondTake20) February 27, 2021
Devin Askew has 3 fouls, 2 turnovers, 0 for 4 from the field today. Not a great afternoon for the freshman.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 27, 2021
Please Kentucky, get Askew off the floor, not hating on the kid, just want to beat Florida— Joe Waters (@joedwaters10) February 27, 2021
You DON’T have a tattoo? I thought we were all doing that— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisTV) February 27, 2021
Someone on this Kentucky team is going to put someone on a poster or in a body bag before all is said and done. They’ve gotten very bold with their dunk attempts the last few weeks— Sam Gillenwater (@samdg_33) February 27, 2021
Did Devin throw that off the backboard to toppin??— Big Blue Nation David (@BigBlueNationD1) February 27, 2021
This is gonna be the longest 3:44 of our lives isn’t it?— Anna Maria Tarullo (@tarullotweets) February 27, 2021
It won't be after this season, but Jacob Toppin is going to end up as a first round NBA Draft pick.— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) February 27, 2021
Mark. It. Down.
Teams above UK in the standings have lost today. The Cats need to come back and win this.— Keith Farmer (@KeithFarmer18) February 27, 2021
Trailing 67-65 with 37 seconds left ... but our ball.— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 27, 2021
How we hanging in there, #BBN?
Can someone explain to me, a Basketball Benny, what that was— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) February 27, 2021
Can’t believe that’s the best shot we could’ve gotten. Sarr deep in the corner. My goodness.— Michael Paul Clark (@UKDad21) February 27, 2021
Let's lay out the stakes. If Kentucky pulls a miracle, they'll need to win the SEC Tournament. If Kentucky comes up short, they'll need to win the SEC Tournament.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) February 27, 2021
FINAL: Florida 71, Kentucky 67— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) February 27, 2021
The final 5 minutes gets UK yet again. Cats outscored 12-5 from the 5:00 mark on.
Kentucky missed 5 of its last 6 shots.
FINAL: Florida 71, Kentucky 67— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 27, 2021
Cats see their three-game win streak come to an end. Haven't won four straight this season, which they'll need to do in Nashville to make the NCAA Tourney. pic.twitter.com/IAyD8azOci
Kentucky falls to Florida on Senior Day, 71-67.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 27, 2021
Now 8-14 on the year.
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