Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Continue Their Mastery of Wildcats; UF Is Only the Second to Beat UK Seven in a Row

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Continue Their Mastery of Wildcats; UF Is Only the Second to Beat UK Seven in a Row

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - The Florida men's basketball team made a lot of history the past two seasons, but this season's squad has a little piece of its own now, too.

With Al Horford, one of the key players on Florida's two NCAA title teams in attendance, the Gators beat visiting Kentucky 81-70 in overtime Saturday night at the O'Connell Center to give the program its seventh consecutive victory over the Wildcats. UF joins Notre Dame as the only schools to do that in Kentucky's storied basketball history.

The Gators can become the only team to beat the Wildcats eight consecutive times when they travel to Rupp Arena on March 9 for the regular-season

finale.

UF (16-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) won the game in the final 1:22 of overtime. Sophomore center Marreese Speights' jumper gave UF a 70-68 lead, and junior guard Walter Hodge followed that with a 3-pointer with 57.8 seconds to play for a 73-68 lead.

Kentucky's Ramel Bradley scored on a drive to cut the lead to 73-70 with 43.7 seconds to play, but freshman forward Nick Calathes (24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) helped UF seal the victory by making 8-of-8 free-throw attempts and rebounding two missed 3-pointer tries by the Wildcats in the final 43 seconds.

The Gators, after struggling from the line in regulation, made all 12 of their free-throw attempts in overtime.

UF appeared to make enough plays later in the second half to get the victory but was hurt by poor free-throw shooting. The Gators hit just 16 of 28 tries in regulation, and that cost them when Bradley sank a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play in regulation to force overtime with the score tied at 61.

Kentucky's Derrick Jasper hit a 3-pointer with 1:28 to play in regulation to cut UF's lead to 58-56, and the Wildcats had a chance to tie the score, but forward Patrick Patterson missed a shot inside and UF forward Chandler Parsons rebounded it with less than a minute to play. …

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