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

No. 24 Florida upsets No. 8 Kentucky

1973 days ago
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- As the game became more and more lopsided, Kasey Hill looked up at the scoreboard and wondered if Florida could stretch it to 30.

Against Kentucky, no less.

"It was one of our goals," Hill later admitted. "We didn't let it be known, but we were trying to do it."

Hill matched a career high with 21 points, Devin Robinson added 16 and No. 24 Florida beat eighth-ranked Kentucky 88-66 Saturday night, giving second-year coach Mike White the breakthrough win he wanted.

"I didn't know it was going to be like that," Robinson said. "But we knew we were going to win."

The Gators (18-5, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) ended a five-game losing streak in the series and picked up their first win in four tries against ranked teams this season. Florida improved to 2-10 against ranked teams under White, winning for the first time since upsetting West Virginia in January 2016.

The most telling stat: Florida outrebounded Kentucky 54-29.

But the biggest difference was Hill, who sliced through Kentucky's zone and made things happen for the Gators. He added five rebounds and six assists in one of the most complete games of his four-year career.

"He made shots, he got in the lane, one of the quickest guards in the country," said guard De'Aaron Fox, who returned from missing a game with an illness and led Kentucky with 19 points. "The big part was he was making jumpers, and when he's making jumpers, it's extremely hard to stop him."

Hill made five in a row at one point.

"That happens against us," coach John Calipari said. "Guys have beer muscles. All of a sudden they're better than they are."

Florida led from the opening tip and really pulled away with a 13-0 spurt in the second half that had the packed O'Connell Center rocking like it was 2007.

Robinson started the run with a 3-pointer from the wing, and John Egbunu followed with a powerful dunk. Chris Chiozza and Hill then combined on the play of the night. Chiozza stripped the ball on one end and hit Hill in stride some 70 feet away for the kind of long-distance pass that had to make retired football coach Steve Spurrier, who was sitting courtside, smile.

By the time the run was over, the Gators were up 75-52 and had many wondering whether they would end up with another 30-point victory.

Florida beat its last three opponents -- LSU, Oklahoma and Missouri -- by at least 30 points. That tied a school record set in 2004 and matched in 2006 -- both by teams that included future NBA lottery picks Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah.

The Gators didn't make it four in a row, but they surely enjoyed this one more than any of the others.


Kentucky: For starters, the Wildcats need to get healthy. Freshman Sacha-Killeya-Jones (illness) did not make the trip, and fellow forward Tai Wynyard (illness) played sparingly. It also didn't help Kentucky that Monk, Fox and Isaiah Briscoe combined for 36 points on 12-of-35 shooting.

Florida: The Gators are rolling, having won four straight in lopsided fashion. It all happened after a humbling home loss to Vanderbilt that prompted a lengthy team meeting in which players refocused their goals. Now, they're poised to possibly earn a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament and play in nearby Orlando.


Kentucky has lost three of four, and the Wildcats needed overtime to hold off Georgia at home on Tuesday.

"I'm not cracking," Calipari said. "I don't know if anybody in here is. I told a couple guys, `You're not playing well. You've got to play better.' And part of that is you're trying to do stuff you don't need to do. Sometimes you've got to hit bottom and maybe we have hit bottom, maybe we haven't hit bottom."


Kentucky: Hosts LSU on Tuesday. The Tigers entered Saturday 1-8 in league play, including 0-5 at home.

Florida: Plays at Georgia on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are coming off a two-point loss at No. 19 South Carolina.


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