Florida puts up a fight, falls to No. 3 Kentucky

By Adam Silverstein
March 7, 2010

The Florida Gators traveled to Lexington, KY, with an outside shot at an upset victory over the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats and possibly a guaranteed spot in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Though Florida (20-11, 9-7 SEC) was unable to pull out the win, the team showed resilience and a solid all-around effort while falling 74-66 to Kentucky (29-2, 14-2 SEC) at Rupp Arena.

Three Gators – junior forward Alex Tyus (12 points) and freshmen F Erik Murphy (11) and guard Kenny Boynton (11) – scored in double figures, but Florida’s defense was unable to contain the Wildcats. Five Kentucky players posted double-digit points as guards Eric Bledsoe and Darius Miller led the way with 14 points, F Patrick Patterson added 13, G John Wall contributed 11 and G Darnell Dodson posted 10.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida at No. 3 Kentucky game story after the jump!

On Senior Day, the Wildcats held the Gators without a basket for the first four minutes of the game. A 16-2 run for Kentucky pulled them ahead a game-high 18 points (36-18) in the first half, though Florida would cut its deficit to 10 at the half with a 10-3 run. UK shot 50 percent (6-of-12) from downtown before the halftime buzzer.

The Gators opened up the second half with a 7-0 run to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 49-44 with 14:53 remaining on the clock. Going back-and-forth for much of the half, UF was able to reduce its deficit to two (60-58) on a layup by Murphy with 6:52 to go. However, Florida would fall apart after a second layup by Murphy, allowing Kentucky to explode on a 9-2 run to put the game out of reach.

From 3:42 on, sophomore point guard Erving Walker took seven of the Gators’ final nine shots, missing six of them until adding a garbage-time layup with 0:25 left on the clock. Head coach Billy Donovan failed to play Murphy and sophomore G Ray Shipman, who had combined to go 8-11 from the field for 20 points and eight rebounds, in the final few minutes of the contest.

Junior F Chandler Parsons finished with nine points and six rebounds on 2-of-6 shooting, and junior center Vernon Macklin added six points and four rebounds. Walker had a team-high eight boards.

Florida shot a paltry 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from the free throw line compared with Kentucky’s 20-for-28 (71.4 percent) effort from the charity stripe. The Wildcats outblocked the Gators 8-3 and shot 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from downtown versus 26.7 percent (4-of-15) for UF.

The Gators, a No. 4 seed from the East, now have their sights set on a match-up with the Auburn Tigers, a No. 5 seed from the West, in game three of the first round of the 2010 Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Nashville, TN. The game will air live on your local SEC Network affiliate.

Florida must win at least one tournament game for a chance to participate in March Madness, though some analysts believe they will require two victories to get off the bubble. The winner of the Gators-Tigers tip will face the SEC West No. 1-seed Mississippi State Bulldogs in second-round action.


  1. Wingtee says:

    BD sub patterens are head scratching. Again we played with 4 players in the last 10 minutes. No Tyus an Shipmen no Murphy. Plenty of Werner doing nothing and Walker driving the ball in the paint vs 7 footers onlly to of course be swated away. Could have won this today

  2. ReptilesRule says:

    At least they didn’t embarass themselves the way I thought they would and the way the game started out. They really need a couple of W’s at the SEC tourney. Going in and laying an egg against Auburn will just prove that this team and this program is going nowhere. Getting into the NCAA’s will be an invaluable experience to start building for the next cpuple of years OR we could just stay middle of the road average nothing exciting nothing to look forward to kind of program…we’ll see…soon.

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    Another day of not being able to score and close during the last 5 minutes of the game

  4. Mr2Bits – That’s what happens when Walker takes seven of your last nine shots.

  5. gatorspirit says:

    Okay. Again:
    Boynton and Walker are “lousy” (can’t dribble, pass, shoot, drive, nor break traps; ESPECIALLY Walker)!
    It’s amazing our record is as good as it is!
    That said, Gator Hoops is on the verge of attaining greatness again (assuming Billy doesn’t pull any more “stunts!”).
    Consider Kentucky’s fantastic Frosh. Give us one, perhaps two of their equivalent, and, while we may not be 29 – 2, we’d easily be 24 – 7, or 25 – 6 [and perhaps even better next year?], which is about where our two NCAA Champ teams were at entering the SEC Tourney!
    Every incoming recruit wants to start early. I hope Austin Rivers and Brandon Knight are watching our games.
    If so, then they will BOTH be Gators next year!
    And if they live up to the hype (hopefully), then the only position KB and EW will be jockeying for is BENCH position (thankfully)!
    But if we only get one of them, I hope it’s Rivers. In one word, he seems more “athletic” to my eye.


  6. Don’t forget, the Gators not only have five-star Rivers committed, they have five-star Beal too. And two four-star forwards coming in next year.

  7. gatorspirit says:

    SWEEEET! Bring on the starz! (does that include JUCO player Ratliffe?).

    I’m additionally pleased with Erik Murphy’s apparent high “basketball IQ.”


    PS: Billy needs to re-double his efforts at stressing “the extra pass” (like the awesome “Gatorboyz” did!).

  8. Lots of potential for Murphy.

  9. g8ter27 says:

    Well gatorspirit I think Werner has taken to the extra pass nicely, even when he has an uncontested 8 footer. I disagree with a few here on Walker and Boynton; I think they will both mature and be better next year, neither is a guy that can singe handedly win a game but each can give us valuable minutes if we have others than can do the same….and right now we don’t. The difference with our freshman and Kentucky’s is that theirs are better, but ours will be here next year and not in the NBA. Kentucky will have to reload again next year, good luck finign anoter John Wall and another SOB that big down low.

  10. gatorspirit says:

    Walker and Boynton should improve as they mature (hopefully more so than Werner did!).

    Walker almost single handedly LOST this game (through selfishness and panic: he unnecessarily rushed that “shot-put” of his with around 16 seconds left, down by six points – 2 posessions).

    While we’re not deep enough, more of the same won’t help us. That only works when the talent level is higher.

    Programs that are able to attract High School players who are good enough to potentially leave College early, even very early, for the pros will themselves attract more of the same talent, but at that higher level – and it’ll be easier for these programs because open positions become available more frequently (which, again, attract the Blue-chippers who want to start as early as possible).

    The fact that John Wall may be “one-and-done” is exactly what may lure Brandon Knight (or anyone of his caliper) to Kentucky next year.
    Granted, “one-and-done” is rare, but “two-and-through” & “three-and-flee” do the same, just not as frequently!

    It doesn’t matter if there’s not “another John Wall and another SOB that big down low” next year; there WILL be Blue-chippers available, and Kentucky will have room for themmybe even to start.

    Just sayin’.


  11. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I agree Murphy looks like he will be a quality big man…just needs to add some strength….I think some are being a bit too hard on Boyton…he helped get us back in that game

  12. Daniel M. says:

    Shouldn’t that be “IGTBAFG?”

  13. Mitch says:

    Same old song and dance. Our guard play is a notch above pathetic. I love Walker’s attitude on the court, but he is a Div II point guard. How can this team win a game when its 2 worst shooters (Walker, Boynton) take 50% of the teams shots. Tyus, Macklin and Parsons should be taking 75% of the shots. Billy has this all backwards. I think this is the worst coached season in Billy’s UF tenure. Honestly, if we dont get in NCAA’s we should skip the NIT. There is little to be gained running this line-up out there to get more practice. This roster is going nowhere, we need an infusion of talent and let them play immediately, no more Dan Werner-like coddling for below average players that Billy thinks try real hard. If we dont get 2 blue chip gurads to add to the current recruiting class we will be posting the same concerns this time next year. It has gotten old.

  14. Mitch- Boynton is significantly better with the ball in his hands both as a player and as compared to Walker, in my opinion. With Boynton and Shipman in the front court, the Gators moved the ball, got turnovers and scored points. He was able to facilitate the offense and get many of the players including Murphy involved.

    Speaking of, the five on the court at the end of the game should have been: Boynton, Shipman, Murphy, Parsons, Macklin. You play the guys who are hot – and Murphy was hot both offensively and defensively. So in some ways I agree with you. I think Donovan did the team a diservice by having Werner and Walker in there at the end of the game. Of course, I realize Donovan wanted Walker in there for his foul-shooting – that makes sense – but after his first two bad misses he needs to be spoken to and told not only to use more clock to get a good shot but to move the ball around.

    Recruiting for 2010 is basically done. Two forwards – VERY GOOD forwards. However, Donovan has two five-star guards committed for 2011 and is trying to get a third (Knight).

  15. Mitch says:

    Adam – isn’t Knight a 2010 recruit. His talent would certainly put Walker or Boynton on the bench.

  16. Yeah, I flubbed that. He wouldn’t put Boynton on the bench though, they’d play together. He’s probably heading to Kentucky anyway, so no matter.

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