Kentucky came out the burning door, but lost its charm on the stretch.
On what was Senior Day at Rupp Arena, the Wildcats fell to the Florida Gators by a final score of 71-67. Kentucky took a 26-16 lead midway through the first half as they started the afternoon 7-11 from the court. However, the ‘Cats would shoot just 12-37 the rest of the way, as Florida outscored them by five in the second half to slip away with the victory.
Davion Mintz led the way for Kentucky, scoring 21 points on 7-14 shooting and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. Three of his Wildcat teammates also finished in double figures, as BJ Boston (13 points), Isaiah Jackson (11) and Jacob Toppin (11) helped fill in the scoring gaps. Free throws kept Kentucky alive at all times as they finished 25-29 from the charity line.
Once Florida employed a zone defense in the second half, Kentucky’s offense stalled more than a few times. The UK suffered multiple droughts that exceeded three minutes in length, spun the ball more than 15 times in total, and only handed out just seven dimes. Missed opportunities, including a 1-11 mark from distance in the second half, caused the ‘Cats to try to get out of a hole that was too deep.
Kentucky shot 9-27 overall in the final 20 minutes of action, while Florida was 10-19. Tre Mann was Florida’s driving force, scoring 21 points as the Gators shot more than 52 percent from the ground and 47 percent from beyond the arc. The ‘Cats now fall to 7-8 in the SEC and further from a possible double goodbye for the next conference tournament.