Florida made a blistering 16 of 18 shots, including 7 of 8 from 3-point range, over a 12-minute span to beat No. 23 Kentucky 80-67 on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
With the victory, Florida (20-11, 11-7 SEC) claims a double bye for next week’s SEC Tournament as the No. 3 seed. Kentucky could still claim the final double bye as a No. 4 seed if Missouri beats Arkansas.
Junior guard Jalen Hudson led the win with 22 points, including 17 in the first half as the Gators roared to a 15-point lead at intermission. Graduate student Egor Koulechov added 16 and freshman guard Keith Stone had 12.
As a team, Florida shot 49.1 percent from the field and made 10 3-pointers. The Gators had 34 rebounds, 15 assists and 10 turnovers.
Kentucky did mount one comeback bid midway through the second half just as Florida built its largest lead at 62-36 with 16:04 left. UK ripped off a 20-3 run as Florida missed 10 straight shots to cut the margin to nine points at 65-56 with 6:48 remaining.
But Florida righted the ship quickly, needing only 1:24 to go on a 7-0 run and push the lead back to 16 points.
The 48-33 score matched Kentucky’s largest first-half deficit of the season as UK also trailed at West Virginia 48-33 on Jan. 27. Kentucky rallied to win that game in Morgantown, but the was not the case Saturday for the Wildcats (21-10, 10-8).
Freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander topped Kentucky with 17 points. Freshman forward Kevin Knox added 14 and freshman guard Quade Green and freshman forward PJ Washington added 11 each.
Kentucky shot 41.4 percent from the field and had 36 rebounds, six assists and 13 turnovers.
—Field Level Media