The Kentucky Wildcats took a four-game winning streak to Gainesville, but they didn’t have the same type of performance, and the Florida Gators won with ease on Senior Day, 80-67.
For a while in the first half Kentucky was in a close battle with the Gators and looked like it was going to be a war the whole way. However, with about 12 minutes until halftime Florida caught fire and went on a big run.
It seemed as if Florida couldn’t miss a shot and jumped out to a 35-22 lead at the under 4 timeout. Kentucky cut into the lead, but the Gator has a run to end the half to take a 48-33 lead into the break.
Out of the half, most fans were probably hoping for another West Virginia type comeback. The Cats found themselves down by 23 before they started climbing back into it. Kentucky cut the lead to 48-64 at the under 12 timeout.
Kentucky held Florida to 1 point for over 7 minutes of game time and with just under 7 minutes to play had cut the lead to 9. Then two questionable charge calls and a lucky bounce on a three by Florida took the momentum away and Florida pulled back away and went on to get the win.
Thoughts on the game
Kevin Knox is the key
Knox didn’t have his best performance as he had 14 points on 4/11 shooting. He didn’t have the same aggressiveness that we have seen over the coarse of this 4-game winning streak. Florida did a good job of not allowing his to catch the ball down low and it forced Knox to play differently and away from his strengths. As the postseason gets going the Cats will need Knox to show up every night.
PJ Washington could have had a monstrous gamer
Washington had 11 points on 4/8 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds in the little time he was on the floor. He got into foul trouble early and didn’t get many minutes in the first half. When he was on the floor, Florida had no answer for him, and he was able to score nearly every time they went to him. If he was able to stay in the game, it could’ve been a career day for PJ.
Quade Green needs more shots
Green only had 7 shots in the game knocking down 4 of them for 11 points. Green is our best shot maker and has kept us in some games this season with his ability to score. Going forward he needs to get more touches and get more shot during a game because he is someone that will knock them down.
Hamidou Diallo struggled again
During the last 4 games we have seen a sign that Hami may be on the verge of figuring it out and getting back into form. Unfortunately, today he struggled again. He only had 1 point and was 0/7 from the field. This team really needs Hami to get it going now that the postseason is here.
Kentucky didn’t make enough free ones
Kentucky was able to get to the line 22 times in this one but only made 13 of them (59%). On the road and in the tournament free throws can be the difference maker so hopefully this poor of shooting from the line was just a one game fluke.
With this being the last regular season game, it is now go time. With the SEC tournament starting next week it is time for the Cats to put it all together and start their run in the postseason. This game wasn’t as important as the previous 4 but the rest of the way is. This team needs the fans at the games and our full support because this team has a real shot to do something big.
Now, here’s a look at the postgame notes, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
· Kentucky had its four-game winning streak snapped and is 21-10 overall to finish the regular season. Kentucky concluded the Southeastern Conference season 10-8 in league play. Florida is 20-11, 11-7 in the SEC.
· Kentucky leads the series 100-40
o UK leads 35-26 in Gainesville, Florida.
· Next for the Wildcats: Kentucky will begin the SEC Tournament next week in St. Louis with opponent and game time to be determined later Saturday as all the conference games finish.
o If Missouri defeats Arkansas at 6:30 p.m. ET, Kentucky will be the No. 4 seed and get a double bye, not playing until Friday.
o If Arkansas beats Missouri, UK will be the No. 5 seed and play Thursday.
In the First Half
· Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knoxand Nick Richards for the seventh time this season. UK is 5-2 with this lineup.
· Kentucky extended its streak of 1,044 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Knox connected with 18:38on the clock.
· Florida used an 8-0 run over 3:18 to open up its first double-digit lead with 6:05 to play, 28-17, forcing a UK timeout.
· Florida’s largest lead in the first half was 17 with 1:35 to play.
· Florida made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts to close the half. That run included three straight 3-pointers between the 3:57 and 2:28 marks.
· Florida’s 48 first-half points tied West Virginia for the most in a first half by a UK opponent this year.
· Gilgeous-Alexander had 10 points, marking the sixth time this season he’s had double figures in the first half, and the second in a row.
In the Second Half
· Florida made its first six field-goal attempts of the second half.
o Stretched to the 6:52 mark in the first half, Florida made 16 of 18 field-goal attempts and eight of them were 3-pointers.
· Florida opened up a 62-39 lead at the 16:04 mark when Egor Koulechov hit a 3-pointer. UF’s 23-point lead tied for the biggest deficit UK has faced this year. The other time that occurred was Feb. 10 at Texas A&M.
· UK held Florida without a field goal, an 0-of-10 stretch over between the 14:40 and 7:22 marks.
o UK went on a 7-0 run over 2:52 to cut the UF lead into single digits 65-56 at the 6:48 mark.
o Kentucky got no closer, as Florida answered with its own 7-0 run in less than a minute.
· UK has scored at least 80 points in the last five games.
o It’s the first time UK tallied at least 80 in five straight games since it was done eight games in a row last season.
· Florida’s 80 points were the fifth most by a UK opponent this year.
· UK blocked two shots, tying its season low for the fourth time.
· Kentucky’s six assists were a season low.
· UK got to the foul line 22 times, making 13, a 59.1-percent clip.
o UK is shot 76.6 from the foul line during its recent four-game winning streak.
· UK won the rebounding 36-34. UK is 19-5 this season when outrebounding the opponent.
· Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a team-high 17 points, reaching that total for the second game in a row, while reaching double figures for the fourth game in a row.
· Quade Green netted 11 points, including going 3 of 3 from 3-point range.
· He’s made at least two 3-pointers in five straight games.
· Over the last five games, he’s shooting 55-percent (11 of 20) from beyond the arc.
· He has scored double figures in five straight games, the best stretch of his career.
· He made three 3s in a game for the fourth time this year, but for the first time since Jan. 6.
· PJ Washington scored 11 points, his sixth straight game in double figures, all off the bench.
· That’s the best stretch of his career.
· He added seven rebounds, the seventh straight game he has garnered at least five caroms.
· Kevin Knox scored 14, his eighth straight game in double figures.
Coach John Calipari
· Calipari has a 715-203 all-time on-court record.
· Calipari is now 270-63 at Kentucky.
· Calipari is 15-8 vs. Florida.