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Kentucky Basketball

Kentucky Pulls Away to Defeat Florida 66-57

March 9, 2019

Kentucky hosted the Florida Gators this afternoon to wrap up the regular season for both clubs. The Cats were able to take care of business, and combined with an earlier Tennessee loss at Auburn, passed the Vols for a 2 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament.

Jonny David was given the nod for Senior Day and EJ Montgomery started for the 4th time in 5 opportunities while Reid Travis has been out. Florida started out a very hesitant 1/6 from the floor and slowed the game down when they had the chance. Kentucky led 6-4 at the first media timeout after Nick Richards was fouled on a layup attempt in transition.

Richards knocked down both free throws and was 1 of 5 Cats to score early on as the Cats were sharing the ball. UK built a 13-10 lead at the 11:30 mark. The Gators continued to struggle in their offensive attack forcing Mike White to call a timeout following a Herro steal and Hagans fastbreak layup. Florida was 5/16 from the field with only 2 assists and was down 19-12.

After Ashton Hagans knocked down a 3 to push the lead to 9 (and honestly felt like more), Kentucky got sloppy and Florida took advantage. Mike Okauru knocked down a wide open corner 3 in between a couple of Florida layups and a quick 7-0 Gator run made this a game with 4 minutes remaining before half.

The Cats squandered the chance to build a lead and lost their momentum. Florida switched to zone and Kentucky looked lost. A shot clock violation and a few similar close calls caused the home team to finish the last 5:52 without a made field goal. Florida, however, began to attack and finished 6/8 in that same span to take a 31-30 lead into halftime.

Both teams came out spirited in the 2nd half and traded blows as well as the lead back and forth. PJ Washington tried to take control scoring 7 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in the first 8 minutes as UK grabbed a 44-42 lead. Kentucky held a 27-17 advantage in rebounding and the effort showed. Florida continued to switch defenses trying to confuse the Cats.

The EFFORT continued. The DEFENSE picked up. The REBOUNDING continued. PJ and Tyler took turns playing off one another and the Cats grew a lead as they shut down the Gators for an extended stretch. A 10-0 run over the course of over 6 and half minutes built a 12 point UK lead with under 5 minutes to go.

The Cats held on down the stretch and grabbed the win on Senior Day. There was a balanced attack as your leading scorer was Tyler Herro (16), but PJ Washington (15), Hagans (14), and Johnson (14) were right there with him. PJ also led Kentucky with 9 boards as the Cats dominated that aspect 39-23. EJ Montgomery and Keldon Johnson also grabbed 7.

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Kentucky Pulls Away to Defeat Florida 66-57

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