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Saturday, February 15, 2014

No. 3 Florida perseveres in second half
for 69-59 win over No. 14 Kentucky

Rupp Arena was at its most intimidating Saturday—24,425 fans were there, the sixth-most in arena history, and the crowd was impressive in volume and not just … volume—and the No. 14 Wildcats spent the first half playing some of their best defense of the season.

 

Still, No. 3 Florida has won 16 straight and the Wildcats weren’t quite the force of nature it seems necessary to hand the Gators their first SEC loss. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin was electric in the second half, finishing with 23 points after a five-point first half. Florida won 69-59.

 

It was Kentucky’s first home loss of the season, snapping a 22-game home winning streak dating back to last season. Kentucky is now 81-3 at home under John Calipari.

 

James Young led the Wildcats with 19 points, and Andrew Harrison had 20 before fouling out with about a minute to play.

 

Calipari was assessed a technical foul with 8:14 to play by an official standing about 40 feet away during a dead ball. At the time, Kentucky was leading 48-47; Wilbekin made the two technical free throws, and Casey Prather scored a bucket on the ensuing possession, a four-point swing from which Kentucky would never fully recover.

 

The Wildcats tied the game at 53-53 with six minutes to play but never took the lead after that. They were scoreless the final two minutes of the game.

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