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Highlights, MVP, and Twitter reactions from Wildcats’ thrilling win over Gators

A gutsy win for the Cats, who have now won six straight in Gainesville.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats headed to Gainesville for their SEC opening matchup against the Florida Gators. After winning five straight on the Gators’ home court, they added another to that list with their 87-85 win this afternoon.

The first half was almost a carbon copy of what many expected, as it was an absolute track meet. Kentucky did a few things out of character in the first half including only having two assists heading into the locker room alongside seven turnovers to the Gators’ three.

Overall, the story of the first half, though, will come down to defensive discipline. The Cats did a good job on the boards as they pulled down 20 rebounds to Florida’s 21, but it was the open looks on the perimeter for Florida that helped them separate themselves from Kentucky to take a 45-37 lead into the half.

For the BBN, the second half started exactly how you could have wished. The Cats erased an eight-point halftime lead to eventually take a brief lead, but then the Gators’ punches kept landing. In a game that was defined by runs, it was one final push by the Cats that helped push them to the victory, highlighted by a late 3 by Aaron Bradshaw and six straight free throws by Reed Sheppard.

It was an ugly game, but the Cats prevailed and are 1-0 in the SEC.

Now the Cats will turn their attention to the Missouri Tigers as they face off with them on Tuesday night

Box Score

Highlights

MVP

This could have gone several ways, but it was the play of DJ Wagner in the second half that ultimately made him the choice. He finished with 14 points on 6/10 shooting, while also adding three rebounds and three assists. 12 of those points and all of those assists came after halftime.

It was a tough road environment for the young freshman guard, and you saw that in the first half. But the talented guard stepped up and made his mark in the second half.

For Kentucky to be the championship team everyone thinks they can be, it will take games like this from Wagner. An awesome showing to help lift his team.

And don’t look now, but Wagner is 6/13 from 3 over his last five games, a 46.1% clip after he struggled from deep to start the season.

Twitter Reactions

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