The Kentucky Wildcats were back in action Saturday night for a matchup against the Florida Gators and a chance to jump into the top 4 in the SEC standings.
It was a slow start offensively for the Cats, but they were playing very well defensively as they held a 5-2 lead at the first timeout.
Kentucky was scrapping on both ends of the floor and used that to build a 17-9 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the half.
Late in the first half, it looked like Kentucky was about to run away with this game as they held a 24-11 lead.
However, the Gators fought back in a big way and made this a 26-22 ballgame coming down the stretch of the half.
Fortunately, the Cats responded with a 7-0 run to end the half and they went into the break holding a 33-22 lead.
The second half got off to a lackluster start for the Cats, but they still held a 37-30 lead at the under 16 timeout.
A Jacob Toppin jumper with just over 10 minutes remaining put Kentucky back up double digits leading it 50-40.
Kentucky used that momentum and looked to take control of the game as they built a 59-45 lead with 8 minutes to go.
Unfortunately, Florida once again battled back and at the under 4 timeout it was a 61-54 ballgame.
Down the stretch Cason Wallace made some massive plays for the Cats as they were able to get the 72-67 win.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the win.
Cason Wallace back in the first five pic.twitter.com/Lg0fCjU40f— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 5, 2023
Mike Pratt, a Kentucky basketball legend. pic.twitter.com/aZkhG5WdNt— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 5, 2023
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CJ Fredrick with a big defensive stop, lob to Oscar Tshiebwe, then a 3-point make on consecutive possessions for Kentucky— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 5, 2023
Heck of a way to open the night vs. Florida
Oscar rebound CJ three pic.twitter.com/CO9hpeMgiE— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 5, 2023
Oscar Tshiebwe with six rebounds in three minutes for Kentucky— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 5, 2023
That first 2.5 minutes for Kentucky was great. Effort plays leading to easy buckets. The perfect start to a game that they haven’t had excess of this season.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) February 5, 2023
My lord Jacob Toppin and Chris Livingston are hustling!!— Dylan Ballard (@DylanBallard_UK) February 5, 2023
Didn't expect UK to run UF out of the gym. Pretty even matchup. Cats playing very hard early. Have to eliminate those easy straight line drives to the basket.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) February 5, 2023
I liked that small lineup with Collins at the 5— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 5, 2023
And a big round of applause as Daimion Collins and Chris Livingston head back to the Kentucky bench. Max effort from those two guys tonight.— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) February 5, 2023
Kentucky 17, Florida 9. ... 9 mins left in first half
Cats have scrapped their way to a nine-point lead. Florida shooting 2-15 from the floor.— John Huang (@KYHuangs) February 5, 2023
I'd say Cason Wallace's knee looks okay.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) February 5, 2023
I know Cason can’t play 40 minutes. But we got to help Sahvir when he’s in by getting the ball in Reeves’ hand and let him create.— Tomás Clark (@DonTomasClark) February 5, 2023
Cats had a shot to run away with this game and then started taking bad mid range jumpers, which if I am Florida I would want all day— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 5, 2023
Florida getting Reeves/Sahvir and Oscar in a Pick and Roll is VERY difficult for Kentucky to defend
CJJJJJJJJ FREAKING Fredrick— Lori Mills (@lori_mills) February 5, 2023
Damion Collins played his way into the rotation— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) February 5, 2023
Huge run there to end the 1H by Kentucky. Cats put up 1.0 points per possession against Florida's top-10 defense. That's a win.— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) February 5, 2023
Best defensive half of the season— Big Blue Nation (@BigB1ue9ation) February 5, 2023
Great last 3 minutes to close it out
Time for collins to get some run. Oscar is a mess— Colton Covington (@C_Cov_) February 5, 2023
How many times this season has Kentucky saved it back towards its own basket leading directly to an easy bucket?— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) February 5, 2023
Oscar isn’t playing great but Kentucky has still controlled the game. This is good, your best player doesn’t need to be a post player come March.— Berkley’s Pops ™️ (@BrandoAKing) February 5, 2023
Amazing what Sahvir can do when you play him with the right guys.— Michael Beard (@AllMikedUp_) February 5, 2023
Love Jacob Toppin's game when he's getting all the way to the rim instead of settling for jumpers.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) February 5, 2023
The "Y" ... Dan Issel pic.twitter.com/OhmyNadWwC— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) February 5, 2023
We all just ignoring that Oscar got absolutely hacked on that play? The smack was audible lol— Ian Teasley (@ianteasley) February 5, 2023
Ya know, I’m just trying to have a nice relaxing Saturday night at home but after some deliberation I’ve firmly decided to dislike Colin Castleton.— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) February 5, 2023
So has Cason Wallace https://t.co/Dplgop0QjJ— Round Daddy (@JStreble82) February 5, 2023
This is not how I was taught to initiate a box out on a free throw. pic.twitter.com/a3WU2rQV7E— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) February 5, 2023
Still don't think Wallace understands how good he is. Way too deferential to teammates.— John Huang (@KYHuangs) February 5, 2023
Cason Wallace is such an elite defender. Truly special as a point guard on both ends.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) February 5, 2023
I mean this makes no sense for Collins to play 0 minutes this half. Oscar has been flat out awful. Not even making dunks. I don't get this one bit— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) February 5, 2023
Raise your hand if you had Wheeler having more points in the paint than Oscar tonight.— Big Blue Express (@bigbluexpress) February 5, 2023
Castleton went to the James Harden school of traveling.— (@TheA1God) February 5, 2023
Cason Wallace and Jacob Toppin taking this game over for Kentucky, huge bucket after huge bucket down the stretch— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 5, 2023
Toppin and Wallace making some big plays down the stretch— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 5, 2023
Probably worst game Of Oscar’s career here
Florida's Jones, a 28% 3-point shooter, chucks one in from deep with :38 to go to make it UK 70-67. One-possession game.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) February 5, 2023
A win is a win!— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) February 5, 2023
Kentucky owns Florida. pic.twitter.com/NgbrH1mDjA— Rare Rookies #BBN (@rarerookies) February 5, 2023
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