History was made on Saturday as the No. 1 Florida Gators (29-2, 18-0 SEC) became the first team ever to go 18-0 in Southeastern Conference play, routing the No. 25 Kentucky Wildcats (22-9, 12-6 SEC) on Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Florida topped Kentucky 84-65, leading by as many as 22 points in the first half and winning by 19 despite allowing a 15-0 run in the latter period.
The 19-point victory was UF’s largest margin in its all-time series against UK. The Gators are now undefeated at home (32-0) over the last two seasons, have won 23-straight games and 17-in-a-row at home over league opponents.
OnlyGators.com breaks it all down with eight quick-hitters:
It was over when: Senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin drained a monster three-pointer seemingly from Ocala, FL with less than three minutes to play, vaulting Florida ahead of Kentucky by 17 and icing the contest for the Gators. He was UF’s third-leading scorer on the afternoon, posting 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting (2-of-2 from downtown) with four assists and three boards.
Prominent player: Senior center Patric Young went scoreless for the first 14 minutes of the second half, but his 14 first-half points and 18 total points were both highs for the Gators on Saturday. The 18 points were also a season-high for Young, who hit 8-of-13 shots and finished with a team-high seven boards.
Significant stretch: With UF dominating UK, the Wildcats finally responded by scoring on eight-straight possessions early in the second half. Kentucky went on a 15-0 run to cut their deficit to six points as Florida went scoreless for 5:36, making Saturday’s contest a game when it looked to be a blowout.
Check out the second half of The Fastbreak…after the break.
First half focus: The Gators responded to a Wildcats 7-0 run with a 19-4 scoring stretch – including six points from Young and three triples by sophomore guard Michael Frazier II – to jump ahead by 19 points with about four minutes until the half. UF eventually extended its advantage to 44-22, doubling up UK as halftime approached. Frazier did not score in the second half, registering nine points, two dimes and two steals for the game.
Perfect play: Midway through the first half, freshman point guard Kasey Hill dribbled the ball inside and under the basket, drawing three defenders before slicing a bounce pass through their bodies to an open Young, who slammed it home. Hill’s eight points were both his most in a reserve role and the most he’s scored since Nov. 18, 2013.
Standout stat: UF led UK by 21 points at the break, and it’s bench made all the difference, outscoring the visitors 18-0 in the first 20 minutes. The Gators reserves only contributed four points on a jumper and two free throws in the second half but still led the Wildcats backups 24-13 for the game.
What it means: The seniors closed things out the right way, combining to score 51 of UF’s 84 points with Young, Wilbekin and senior forward Casey Prather (5-for-5, 15 points) finishing as the team’s three leading scorers. Prather added three boards, two assists and a steal, while senior F Will Yeguete matched Young with a team-high seven rebounds.
Next up: Florida will enter the 2014 SEC Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. The Gators will receive two buys, starting play in the quarterfinals and needing just three victories to capture its first tournament title since 2007.
Gators SR Will Yeguete with a sign that says it all! pic.twitter.com/J4I0m2QF2H
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 8, 2014