It’s difficult to beat a team like Kentucky let alone three times in a season, just ask the Gators. Florida defeated the Wildcats 61-60 Sunday afternoon to clinch their fourth Southeastern Conference tournament title. That win also marked the first three game sweep against the Cats in the programs history.
Entering the game, Florida was 3-12 in the SEC Tournament against Kentucky, including a 1-3 record under Donovan. The Gators were also 1-3 verses the Wildcats in the SEC tournament final, with a 1-2 record with Donovan as their coach.
Kentucky had erased what was once a 16 point deficit in the second half. Freshman guard James Young hit a three pointer with less than two minutes to go to make it 61-60. A hard foul on senior guard Scottie Wilbekin by Kentucky’s freshman guard Andrew Harrison with 23 seconds remaining sent him to the line.
Wilbekin missed the one-and-one but sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith managed to come up with the big offensive rebound. Finney-Smith was fouled and sent to shoot the one-and-one and also missed. Kentucky now had possession with 14 seconds left to try and win the game.
After a Kentucky timeout, Harrison dribbled the clock down to four seconds as he made the exchange at the top of the key to Young. As Young attempted to drive the lane he lost his footing as well as the ball. Time expired as both teams fought for possession on the floor, allowing the Gators to escape with the win.
Both teams had four players scored in double figures with freshman guard Aaron Harrison leading the Cats with 16 points. Senior center Patric Young and sophomore guard Michael Frazier II both led the Gators with 14 points.
Oddly enough for as close as it was Big Blue shot terribly, going 35 percent from the floor and 27 from the three point line. Florida faired far better, shooting 43 percent from the field and 42 beyond the arc. What seemed to be plaguing them was foul trouble and lack of offensive production as they only scored 21 points in the second half.
UF now improves to an astonishing 32-2 on the season and expand their winning streak to 26 consecutive games.
The Gators have received the number one overall seed and have been placed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament. They will face the winner of the Albany/Mount St. Mary’s game on Thursday in Orlando.