Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

No. 8 Florida Gators routed by No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats 78-58

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Florida kept sticking to its strength by shooting from behind the arc. It turned out to be the eighth-ranked Gators' biggest problem.

Kenny Boynton led Florida with 18 points, but the team with the most 3-pointers in the nation this season made 6 of 27 3's in a 78-58 loss to No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday night.

"I don't know if we necessarily attacked their defense great in terms of with a high level of intelligence," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "But, I did think that we had some decent looks."

Not enough to contend with the overwhelming Wildcats, who got 13 points and 13 rebounds from freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to easily pass their toughest conference test to date.

"They are very, very good. There is not one thing you do necessarily against them that is a formula to win," Donovan said. "Certainly shooting the ball well on the road helps; we didn't shoot it well."

The Gators (19-5, 7-2 SEC) shot 34.9 percent from the field overall as the Wildcats (24-1, 10-0) won their 49th straight at home.

Doron Lamb scored 18 and freshman Anthony Davis added 16 for Kentucky, which won its 16th straight overall and ended Florida's seven-game winning streak.

"Our biggest strength is making 3s and we weren't making them," Florida freshman Bradley Beal said. "Our defense was terrible so, really, it was an overall totally bad game."

Florida hit the first two baskets of the second half to cut it to 38-30, but Kentucky answered with an 11-0 run sparked when freshman Marquis Teague and Darius Miller hit consecutive 3-pointers.

Beal then drove to the basket and Davis rejected his shot. Davis swatted another from Patric Young on the possession.

Miller added a jumper and Kidd-Gilchrist spun, hit a basket and was fouled. He completed the three-point play that made it 49-30 as Florida missed eight straight shots.

"They know that we are a 3-point shooting team and they took our best strength away from us," said Beal, who finished with a team-high 14 points. "We have to find other ways to be able to put the ball in the basket, and we didn't do that."

Florida insisted before the game that all the pressure was on the Wildcats, but this group that starts three freshmen and two sophomores doesn't appear to get rattled easily. Their only blemish is a one-point loss in December at Indiana.

One of the last remaining questions for Kentucky had been the quality of opponents the Wildcats had faced after not meeting a ranked team in more than a month.

Kentucky answered it emphatically, leading by as many as 21 points late.

"It's fun winning by 20," Teague said.

Davis added: "We have this little swagger, We're very capable of winning a national championship if we keep playing how we're playing."

FLORIDA (19-5): Young 5-10 2-2 12, Murphy 3-11 0-0 7, Boynton 6-12 2-2 18, Walker 0-7 0-0 0, Beal 5-15 3-4 14, Rosario 1-4 1-2 3, Wilbekin 0-1 0-0 0, Yeguete 2-3 0-2 4. Totals 22-63 8-12 58.

KENTUCKY (24-1): Jones 2-7 0-0 4, Kidd-Gilchrist 4-8 5-5 13, Davis 8-13 0-0 16, Lamb 6-8 2-2 18, Teague 4-6 2-2 12, Miller 3-7 2-2 9, Vargas 0-1 0-0 0, Wiltjer 2-5 0-0 6. Totals 29-55 11-11 78.

Halftime—Kentucky 38-26. 3-Point Goals—Florida 6-27 (Boynton 4-8, Murphy 1-5, Beal 1-7, Wilbekin 0-1, Rosario 0-2, Walker 0-4), Kentucky 9-15 (Lamb 4-5, Wiltjer 2-2, Teague 2-3, Miller 1-4, Jones 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Florida 31 (Yeguete 7), Kentucky 38 (Kidd-Gilchrist 13). Assists—Florida 9 (Beal 3), Kentucky 18 (Teague 10). Total Fouls—UF 12, Kentucky 13. A—24,389.

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