After struggling to begin SEC play with two narrow victories, Kentucky Basketball entered Gainesville looking for a win over Florida – and dominated in stunning fashion.
Coming off close wins over Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, Kentucky Basketball entered Saturday’s showdown with the Florida Gators as underdogs – but came away with their most impressive performance of the season, dominating their conference rivals, 76-58.
This was a game that, despite entering the night at 5-2 overall, the Gators never asserted themselves in. Florida earned its largest lead just three minutes into the game, a 10-5 advantage – and maintained its last lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. After that mark, it was all Kentucky. The Wildcats held a six-point edge at halftime, 35-29 – before subsequently cruising the rest of the way, leading by as much as 25 (66-41) with eight minutes left.
For Florida, this loss is obviously disappointing, especially after returning home from a 15-point loss on the road at Alabama just days prior. The Gators have already picked up a significant victory since the sudden health crisis of Keyontae Johnson when they beat LSU last week – but this setback at Kentucky does not bode well for the Gators moving forward.
The Gators featured just two double-digit scorers in Anthony Duruji, who provided a game-high 15 points (4-8 2PT, 2-5 3PT), and Tyree Appleby, who followed up his season-best performance at Alabama with a 10-point showing against the Wildcats.
For Kentucky, obviously, this win is huge. There has not been a team whose struggles have been magnified and covered as much as the Wildcats – and this could be the biggest possible step in righting the ship. After starting the season 1-6, John Calipari’s squad have now won three-straight to open up SEC play – and remain just one of three undefeated teams in conference play.
The Wildcats were led by a balanced offense, comprised of four double-digit scorers – all of whom scored between 13 and 10 points. Davion Mintz and Brandon Boston both recorded 13, Keion Brooks – more on him shortly – tallied 12, and Olivier Sarr went 5-7 on two-pointers to finish with 10 points.
Undoubtedly, there is a lot to be happy about in Big Blue Nation – and the Wildcats looked like a team that could genuinely make some noise in the SEC moving forward. Obviously, this is just one game – but there is a lot of positives to take away for Kentucky moving forward.