Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharp Gators, Sharper 'Cats; No. 1 Kentucky Finishes Perfect 16-0 in SEC Play

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sharp Gators, Sharper 'Cats; No. 1 Kentucky Finishes Perfect 16-0 in SEC Play

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

GAINESVILLE | Florida played with intensity and was relatively mistake-free against Kentucky.

But it's hard to beat perfection.

The top-ranked Wildcats completed a 16-0 run through the Southeastern Conference, beating the 16th-ranked Gators 74-59 on Sunday in front of 12,113 fans in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Florida (22-9, 10-6) played a focused game, making all 11 of its free throws and committing seven turnovers, but it wasn't nearly enough to stop Kentucky.

"You have to play a complete game against them," said Florida sophomore center Patric Young, who led the Gators with 21 points. "I thought we played good for 35 minutes."

The Wildcats (30-1) became the first SEC team to finish conference play undefeated since Kentucky's 2002-03 team.

Kentucky held UF to one field goal in the game's final nine minutes. The Gators shot 38.2 percent.

"What I told my team after the game is, aeYou guys played a heck of a ball game,' " said Kentucky coach John Calipari, who is now 6-1 vs. Florida coach Billy Donovan.

"Florida played well. They couldn't get 3's off, because we were longer."

The Gators will head into this week's SEC Tournament in New Orleans with a three-game losing streak. Florida, seeded fourth in the tourney with a first-round bye, lost five of its last eight SEC games to close the regular season. The winner of the Alabama-South Carolina game on Thursday will face UF at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

"It's a new season now," said Florida senior guard Erving Walker, who scored eight points in his final home game.

Florida could face Kentucky in the SEC semifinals and that would mean having to face phenom freshman center Anthony Davis again. The 6-foot-10 Davis scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, demonstrating an array of offensive moves. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked six shots.

"Davis made some unbelievable plays," Donovan said. "He continually gets better and better. ... His game is flowering more and more and more in a lot of different areas."

Florida countered with Young, who enjoyed his best scoring game this season in SEC play on 10-of-15 shooting. …

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