A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Keith Taylor: Resilient Wildcats proved they can shot take a shot to the gut, then fight right back and win

The culture is changing at Kentucky and it’s all for the better. Even when things looked bleak after South Carolina opened the game with Jake Bentley’s 63-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel Saturday night, the Wildcats didn’t flinch and recovered from the Gamecocks’ quick strike to go on to defeat the Gamecocks 23-13. Mark Stoops and Mitch Barnhart were all smiles after Kentucky’s win...

Stakes high for surging Wildcats in final baseball series against SEC leading Gators

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione knows what’s on the line when the Wildcats take on Florida in a three-game series starting Thursday in Gainesville. “From here on out, every game we play, someone is fighting for something,” Mingione said. “From here on out, there’s something on the line. Everyone is playing for something at this point. The...

Keith Taylor: Wildcats avenge loss to Gators, prove they’re still the team to beat in the SEC

Kentucky made a statement in a rematch with Florida Saturday and avenged an earlier-season blowout loss to the Gators in impressive fashion with a 76-66 victory Saturday at Rupp Arena. The 11th-ranked Wildcats (24-5, 14-2 Southeastern Conference) proved they can beat a ranked opponent at home and are still the team to beat in the SEC. Kentucky took a one-game lead over the Gators with two league encounters...

Cats, Gators battle for SEC supremacy in high stakes showdown between conference co-leaders

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer It doesn’t get any bigger with one week remaining in the regular season. Southeastern Conference co-leaders No. 11 Kentucky and 13th-ranked Florida meet Saturday in a highly-anticipated showdown that will likely determine the league champion and the top seed for the upcoming conference tournament. Malik Monk and the Wildcats hope they fare better in...

UK Notebook: Calipari wants to become more consistent in final week of regular season

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer John Calipari knows the regular season is winding down. Although the Wildcats have won five straight going into Saturday’s showdown against Florida, the Kentucky coach wants to the Wildcats to focus on becoming more consistent. Calipari reminded the 11th-ranked Wildcats (23-5, 13-2 Southeastern Conference) they are “not where we need to be” following...

Recent struggles continue for UK as Cats hit rock bottom in 88-66 loss at Florida

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer Kentucky isn’t at its best right now and it showed Saturday night in Gainesville. The eighth-ranked Wildcats trailed from start to finish and suffered their first double-digit loss of the year with an 88-66 setback to No. 24 Florida. It was the third loss in the past four games for the Wildcats, a trend that began following an 82-80 loss to Tennessee...

Kentucky expecting usual tough atmosphere in first visit to Florida’s renovated O’Connell Center

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer The name of the arena has changed, but eighth-ranked Kentucky is expecting the same type of atmosphere this weekend when the Wildcats take on Florida at the Exatech Arena in Gainesville. “It’s probably the hardest place to play in,” Kentucky senior Derek Willis said Friday. “I mean, the environment is so humid. You get in the gym and the fans are...

Swamp romp: Struggling Kentucky suffers 30th straight setback to Florida in SEC opener

By Keith Taylor KyForward senior sports writer If a crushing defeat to Southern Mississippi to open the season wasn’t enough, Kentucky was dealt another punch to the gut in a 45-7 loss to Florida Saturday in Gainesville. It marked the team’s 30th straight loss to the Gators, a winless streak that goes back to 1986 and was the first time the Wildcats suffered a setback in the second game of the...

Keith Taylor: Stoops says Cats have no regrets, ‘dig in’ ahead of SEC opener at Florida

Kentucky has moved past Southern Mississippi and is focused on Florida. Although a season-opening 44-35 loss to the Golden Eagles lingered earlier this week, the Wildcats (0-1) shifted their focus to Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener at Florida, a team Kentucky hasn’t beaten since 1986. In addition, it’s been longer — 37 years — since the Wildcats have defeated the Gators in Gainesville. ...

Keith Taylor: While loss to Eagles lingers, Stoops says SEC opener at Florida not ‘make or break’

It’s a loss that still lingers. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said his feelings haven’t changed since his team’s 44-35 setback to Southern Mississippi in the season-opener for both teams Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. Drew Barker makes a gain during the first half of a 44-35 loss to Southern Miss last weekend (Bill Thiry Photo) “We feel the same way today as we felt after the game,” Stoops...

UK baseball team takes 2 of 3 from No. 1 Florida; softball team earns sweep of Arkansas

The Kentucky baseball team completed a four-game week with three wins last week, including a series win over No. 1 Florida. UK posted a 10-5 win in midweek action against Morehead State, before suffering a 12-5 loss in the series opener against Florida on Friday. UK then bounced back on Saturday with a 7-4 win, before winning the series on Sunday with a 5-4 result in 10 innings. Kentucky will return...

SEC Tournament: Kentucky overcomes slow start, goes on to defeat Florida in quarterfinals

Kentucky outscored Florida by 20 points in the second quarter and went on to beat the Gators 92-69 in Friday’s quarterfinals of the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. A game that turned into an easy Kentucky win didn’t start that way. Kentucky struggled in the first half, quickly falling behind by double digits while hitting only three of their 17 first-quarter field goals (18 percent)....

Labissiere makes return to lineup, provides spark for Kentucky in 88-79 win over Florida

By Keith Taylor KyForward sports writer Skal Labissiere provided the spark Kentucky needed in its final road game of the season. Labissiere scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds to help lead the Wildcats to an 88-79 win over Florida Tuesday night. It was Labissiere’s first start in the Southeastern Conference and his first since Kentucky’s 74-67 loss to Ohio State on...

Keith Taylor: Calipari revives ‘tweak’ talk in hopes of igniting late-season run for Wildcats

A late-season “tweak” carried Kentucky to the national championship game two years ago, where the Wildcats lost to Connecticut in the national championship game. Facing a similar situation with his current squad, John Calipari hopes an adjustment down the stretch will serve the same purpose starting with Tuesday’s game at Florida. Kentucky is in a two-way tie with Texas A&M for first...

Keith Taylor: Murray puts on a scoring clinic with 35 points to lead Kentucky past Florida

Traditionally, Florida is Kentucky’s biggest threat in the Southeastern Conference. That was before Jamal Murray came along and former Gators coach Billy Donovan bolted for the NBA. Murray put on an offensive clinic Saturday, scoring a career-high with 35 points to lead No. 20 Kentucky to an 80-61 win over the Gators. Jamal Murray scored 35 points in UK’s win over Florida Saturday (Bill...

Keith Taylor: Calipari, Wildcats ‘zero in’ on defense going into showdown with Florida Gators

John Calipari has been known to scale back on intense practices during the final month of the regular season. Such hasn’t been the case closing out the first week of February this season. This week, work behind the scenes has been “very hard” and “more physical” as Calipari tries to whip his team into shape for a deep run in the postseason. Alex Poythress and the Wildcats have focused...

Keith Taylor: Another close loss to Florida leaves Kentucky waiting again until next year

Kentucky’s special team’s unit blocks a field goal attempt in a 14-9 loss to Florida Saturday night. (Photo by Bill Thiry)   Kentucky came close to beating Florida last year. They also did Saturday, but coming close doesn’t stop a losing streak that just never seems to end.   The Gators notched their 29th straight win over the Wildcats with a 14-9 triumph over the Wildcats...

Keith Taylor: Stoops, Wildcats aren’t shying away from past history against Florida Gators

Kentucky receiver Garrett Johnson makes a catch in a win over South Carolina last week. Kentucky hosts Florida Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium (Photo by Victoria Graff)   Mark Stoops isn’t shying away from Kentucky’s lack of success against Florida for nearly three decades.   “We’re not going to hide from those things,” Stoops said earlier this week.   [widgets_on_pages...

Keith Taylor: Stoops, Wildcats aren't shying away from past history against Florida Gators

Kentucky receiver Garrett Johnson makes a catch in a win over South Carolina last week. Kentucky hosts Florida Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium (Photo by Victoria Graff)   Mark Stoops isn’t shying away from Kentucky’s lack of success against Florida for nearly three decades.   “We’re not going to hide from those things,” Stoops said earlier this week.   [widgets_on_pages...

Considering Kansas State: Can Kentucky advance to the round of 32 in a brawl?

Kentucky’s offense thrived in the SEC tournament when it played free, driving into the lane and dishing out to either an open shooter or another driver to re-iniate the process until one thing or another gave. The Wildcats ran into trouble Sunday when Florida locked down the lane so much so that John Calipari went more toward half-court sets since drives weren’t opening up. The Wildcats...