The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center - Gainesville, FL

No. 1 Kentucky gets road win at Florida

3153 days ago
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Top-ranked Kentucky handled another test.

Aaron Harrison scored 23 points, Karl-Anthony Towns added 19 and the Wildcats remained unbeaten with a 68-61 victory over Florida on Saturday night.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 13 points, highlighted by a thunderous dunk over freshman Devin Robinson in the second half, and the Wildcats (23-0, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak against the Gators (12-11, 5-5).

Florida swept all three meetings last season, winning in Lexington, in Gainesville and in the SEC tournament. Both teams advanced to the Final Four, but have gone in different directions. This one was closer than most expected. Even Florida coach Billy Donovan said this week that there was a "huge discrepancy" in talent between the two teams. Donovan added: "I wouldn't say it's just our team. It's everybody."

But the Gators played one of their best games of the season and kept it tight.

Florida led by nine in the first half and used a 6-0 run to go up 44-42 midway through the second. But Cauley-Stein's dunk proved to be the turning point. Robinson turned the ball over on one end, and Cauley-Stein was the beneficiary on the other. He caught a pass in transition near the foul line, took two steps and then slammed it over Robinson. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw to put Kentucky ahead for good.

Free throws were huge down the stretch, too.

Kentucky closed out the game from the charity stripe and finished 21 of 22 from there.

Florida, meanwhile made 7 of 14 from the line.

The Gators have lost five of seven, and the two wins easily could have been losses.

For Kentucky, this was just the fifth game decided by 10 points or less this season.

Every time Florida got within two points in the final few minutes, Kentucky answered. The Wildcats had just four players score for much of the game. Devin Booker finished with 12 points.

Andrew Harrison made a free throw late and was the only other Kentucky player to score.

Dorian Finney-Smith led Florida with 16 points and five rebounds. Kasey Hill added 12 points, Eli Carter had 11 and Michael Frazier II 10 despite missing much of the second with a sprained ankle.

Kentucky played without freshman forward Trey Lyles for the third straight game. Lyles didn't make the trip because of an undisclosed illness.


Kentucky: Outside the four key scorers, the rest of the team was 0-for-6 shooting. ... The Wildcats shot 47 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range. ... Kentucky is the only remaining unbeaten team in the country.

Florida: Fell to 2-11 against the nation's top-ranked team. All 11 losses are against Kentucky. ... Fell to 1-11 when allowing 60 or more points this season. Florida is 11-0 when holding opponents under 60 points.


Kentucky: Plays at LSU on Tuesday night.

Florida: Hosts Mississippi on Thursday night.