No. 7 Florida outclassed by No. 1 Kentucky

Ending a stretch of three games in six days, the No. 7/8 Florida Gators (19-5, 7-2 SEC) fell in their third opportunity to defeat a top-three ranked opponent on the road this season, getting routed 78-58 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Tuesday evening by the No. 1/1 Kentucky Wildcats (24-1, 10-0 SEC).

Kentucky extended their home winning streak to 49 games with the blowout of Florida, and the Gators fell to 0-8 all-time against the Wildcats in games when their opponent is ranked as the No. 1 team in the country.

UK outperformed UF on both ends of the court. Kentucky shot 52.7 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from downtown while holding Florida to 34.9 percent on field goals and 22.2 percent on tries from beyond the arc.

Wildcats forwards Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and guard Doron Lamb were dominant throughout the game, scoring 16, 13 and 18 points, respectively. Davis was 8-of-18 from the field with six rebounds, four blocks and two steals, while Kidd-Gilchrist added 13 rebounds and three assists. Lamb dominated the Gators on the perimeter by hitting 4-of-5 of his attempts from beyond the arc.

After three consecutive possessions without a shot being taken by either team, Florida scored six-straight points to open up with an early lead, but Kentucky quickly negated that in part by converting consecutive steals into field goals to even up the score.

The Wildcats started just 3-for-12 from the field but shot much better down the stretch while converting the Gators’ turnovers and miscues into quick points. With the game tied at 17 following a pair of Florida free throws, Kentucky took over and outscored the visitors 21-9 over the final 9:36 of the half to take a 12-point lead into the break thanks in part to a three-pointer by Lamb just before the buzzer.

UK ended the half hitting 12 of their final 17 shots while also going 4-of-8 from downtown compared to just 2-of-9 for UF from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats began the second half in similar fashion, hitting consecutive threes and going on an 11-0 run to pull away from the Gators 49-30 with 15 minutes left.

Florida never recovered from the onslaught, continuing to miss shots and allowing their poor offense to affect their effort and defensive intensity. Kentucky continued making baskets while taking it to the visitors defensively.

Gators junior G Kenny Boynton, who was just 2-for-5 in the first half, finished 6-for-12 (4-of-8 from downtown) with a team-high 18 points. Freshman G Bradley Beal was Florida’s most consistent player throughout the game, but he also struggled hitting just 5-of-15 shots (and 2-of-7 threes) for 14 points with six boards and three dimes.

Senior point guard Erving Walker, though he did his best to hold onto the ball, was irrelevant offensively, going 0-for-7 from the field (0-for-4 from deep) with just one assist and not a single free throw attempted.

The Wildcats registered 18 assists on 29 makes, blocked the Gators six times, scored 38 points in the paint and received 15 points from their bench. Florida only had nine assists on their 22 scores and was also outrebounded 38-31 over the course of the evening.

The Gators will have four days to recover from this difficult loss before hosting one of the four other teams they lost to this season. Florida will take on Tennessee on Saturday at 4 p.m. in a game set to air on SEC Network (check your local listings).

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13 Responses to “No. 7 Florida outclassed by No. 1 Kentucky”

  1. Ken (CA) says:

    One good thing about working on the west coast, I DVR the game. One bad thing, sometimes I catch scores before I watch the game… Not so bad tonight, not gonna sit through 2 hours of agony now.

  2. jay d says:

    everyone played horrid except for boynton and beal……it`s like they were completely rattled by the environment and as soon as they were down in points they panicked……useing forced shots and bad shot selection to dig a deeper hole….if the gators can`t find some consistency on the road, we wont make it out of the second round of any tourny this year….gotta stay focused and worry about doing their job….while running a set offense. Walker gets away with his street ball dribbling most of the time….but when the gators play against a top 10 team, walker needs to run the floor in a more conservative manner to reduce turnovers……we have the talent….but what the gators don`t understand is that ……..what Jacksonville U lets you get away with on the court is not what OSU, SU, or KU will let you get away with on the court….more intensity mixed with a little more conservative play….

    • Ken (CA) says:

      we haven’t played Kansas yet, so I am sure you mean UK, but as a senior it is really disappointing how walker keeps pushing things instead of just doing his job. Been a big complaint of mine in several posts and one of biggest disappointments in most of our losses. This team could be a final 4 team if the players would play within themselves. They don’t seem to have ego issues in things they say and such, but then they get on the court and the ego takes over.

      Hopefully Young and Beal will come back next year as they had said they would initially, if so we will definitely be a final 4 team next year. Walker is a real competitor, but just doesnt get it some of the time, and as much as we hoped for Boynton, he really never lived up to his billing as McDonald’s AA and his talent.

      • mark says:

        Boynton has been outstanding this year.

        Walker is dissapointing. I never want to see the ball in his hands with the game on the line and that’s really not good when you are talking about a senior starting PG

    • mark says:

      I wasn’t aware that there were road games in the NCAA tournament.

      I wouldn’t be too worried. It’s a tall order going into Rupp and winning especially with the team Kentucky has this year.

      There isn’t a single team in the country that could beat them when they shoot 60% from 3 point range. They were hot and we weren’t. Just need to regroup and win Saturday

  3. cline says:

    Totally outplayed bottom line. Pray for them at practice today. Go Gators!

  4. Joe says:

    Well Gators, welcome to the world of big boy basketball. At least we won’t have to worry about UK trying to hire Billy away from us again.

  5. scooterp says:

    It always seems like Kentucky has a roster full of 6-9 guys with long arms. I swear I have hard time trying to tell them apart. They all look the same…….. On the other hand Florida always seems to have a roster full of 6-2 guys that never have a chance vs Kentucky. This formula is getting old.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Not sure where you come up with that, we went 1-1 against them last year, and we have tied for the longest winning streak against them 7 games, i think? the ended just a couple of years ago. In recent years we have been pretty successful against UK in general.

  6. Eli says:

    I hate calling out individuals, but Erving Walker was just terrible last night. In fact, his last 4 games against Kentucky, he’s shot 6-37 with a 10/9 assist/turnover ratio. That’s just miserable, and he always seems to make poor decisions in games like these. I don’t know what it is, but Billy has to knock some sense into him and say that he must play as well against Kentucky as he did against Jacksonville for the team to have a remote chance to win.

  7. Courtney says:

    I agree with all of the walker comments…he’s a shooter tryin to play pg. He needs to get a lot more disciplined. Kenny b is the teams leading scorer 16 or so ppg so I think he’s doing pretty well. We def got rattled once we got down. With that bein said big athletic teams like ky will always give the 3gaurd look fits. Young has got to get going to create something in the middle to open up the floor…otherwise vs good teams if we don’t shoot 40% from 3pt land this is what will happen.

  8. obgator says:

    Kentucky is a good team, and they shot very well last night. If we just hit open shots, this game would’ve looked different. Maybe we still lose a close one, but the inability to hit open 3s, as opposed to missing well-defended shots, is the frustrating part.

  9. ncgator says:

    Billy needs to have the guards watch film of Taurean Green over and over. That was a guard that never lost his cool. This group lives and dies with the 3 point shot. When they’re cold they have nothing to fall back on against big physical teams like UK. Young is a lot like Horford, but there’s no Noah to help him.