Number One UK Stays Perfect In SEC
GAINESVILLE, Fla. Top-ranked Kentucky is perfect again in the Southeastern Conference. Freshman Anthony Davis had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, Terrence Jones added 19 points and the Wildcats capped a perfect season in league play with a 74-59 victory over No. 16 Florida on Sunday.
Kentucky (30-1, 16-0) extended its winning streak to 22 games and secured its hold on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats become just the third team since Alabama in 1956 to go unbeaten in SEC play. The other two? Kentucky. The powerhouse program accomplished the feat in 1996 and 2003.
Big Blue faced little resistance in the regular-season finale.
The Wildcats used an 8-0 run in the second half to make it a double-digit lead, and then added a 7-0 run later to put the game out of reach.
Patric Young led Florida (22-9, 10-6) with 21 points while Erik Murphy added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Young and Murphy had few answers for Davis and Jones, who both were 9 of 13 from the field, including a 3-pointer each.
Kentucky shot 53 percent from the field and seemingly scored at will in the paint, finishing with 40 points in the key. And when they aren't missing many shots and aren't turning the ball over, they are tough to beat — maybe even impossible.
The Wildcats took a 28-16 lead in the first half, often abusing the Gators in one-on-one situations. And even when Kentucky did miss, Davis and Jones were there for rebounds and putbacks.
Florida crawled back in the second half, though. The Gators cut the lead to 46-44 with about 16 minutes remaining, but Kentucky started pulling away from there.
Jones got it started with a jumper. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added a long-range shot. And Davis hit his second 3 of the season, pushing the lead to 54-44.
Florida responded thanks to some inspired play by Young and made it 59-55. But the Cats just dialed it up on both ends of the court.
The Gators made just one basket over the final 9:02, a meaningless shot in the closing minute. Davis, meanwhile, took over. He had a putback, a layup, a dunk and a free throw down the stretch. Jones also hit a 3.
Young was the lone bright spot for the Gators. He made 10 of 15 shots and finished with nine rebounds.
Guards Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Bradley Beal had forgettable performances for Florida. Going against bigger defenders, the trio combined for 6-of-29 shooting.
Boynton, benched to start the game because he was late to a team meeting, finished with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting. Walker, recognized before his final home game as the team's lone senior, had eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. Beal had five points on 1-of-10 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists.
The Gators fell to 0-3 without versatile forward Will Yeguete, who is out for the season after breaking his left foot. He was on the bench and using crutches, but Florida hasn't been the same without him.