Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, right, has his shot blocked by Florida's Kevarrius Hayes, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Lexington, Ky. Florida won 66-64. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, right, has his shot blocked by Florida's Kevarrius Hayes, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Lexington, Ky. Florida won 66-64. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
Published January 20
Updated January 20

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night.

"We were able to win it just very, very ugly fortunately," Florida coach Mike White said. "They are a very young and very talented team and a team that defended us at as high a level as anyone has this year."

The first-place Gators (14-5, 6-1 SEC) saw their 45-37 second-half lead become a 56-53 deficit before they regrouped behind Chiozza’s 3-pointer, Hayes’ jumper and Stone’s layup to go ahead 62-58 with 2:02 left. KeVaughn Allen added two free throws with 44 seconds left before Hudson made two more from the line, shots that offset 3s by Kevin Knox and Wenyen Gabriel. Knox, the Wildcats’ leading scorer and former Tampa Catholic standout, was surprisingly pulled from the game after his banked-in 3 and didn’t return, cheering on his team from the bench.

Stone’s missed free throw gave UK a chance to tie at the end, but Florida denied drives by Quade Green and PJ Washington — who might have been fouled — before stealing the inbounds pass with 2.5 seconds left to win for eighth time in nine tries and take a two-game lead on the Wildcats (14-5, 4-3).

Washington got spun to the floor after he was stuffed by Hudson under the basket, but no foul was called despite protests from Washington and the Kentucky bench.

Asked after the game if he thought Washington had been fouled, Wildcats coach John Calipari bristled. "I’ve been asked some dumb questions in my life. … Everybody saw it," he said.

Stone finished with 14 points, Chiozza scored 13 with eight assists and Allen had 11 as Florida won despite shooting 33 percent (22-of-66).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Gabriel had 10 points each for Kentucky, which lost its second in a row and third of five. The Wildcats, who had won 30 games in a row at home, were handed just their seventh home loss in Calipari’s nine seasons.

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