Kentucky Falls at Florida
March 08, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Patric Young scored 18 points in his final home game and No. 1 Florida defeated 25th-ranked Kentucky 84-65 on Saturday, becoming the first team in Southeastern Conference history to go 18-0 in league play.
Fellow seniors Casey Prather (15) and Scottie Wilbekin (13) also reached double figures for the Gators (29-2, 18-0), who have won 23 straight and 32 in a row at home.
Coach Billy Donovan called timeout with 36.9 seconds remaining to get his four seniors another standing ovation.
They certainly deserved this one.
Young, Prather, Wilbekin and fellow starter Will Yeguete have now won 113 games in four seasons, four shy of tying the school record held by Walter Hodge.
The latest one seemed a lock early but was in doubt for a while in the second half.
With Florida's ranking, the finale for four popular seniors, history at stake and the opponent, it was the biggest home game in school history. Single tickets to the nationally televised matchup were going for as much as $500 on the street, and there even was a successful marriage proposal on the court beforehand.
The Gators delivered, especially early.
Florida made 14 of its first 21 shots. Young, who scored 14 points in the first half, did most of the damage inside. Michael Frazier II, who made a school-record 11 3-pointers Tuesday at South Carolina, got hot again from outside.
Frazier's consecutive 3s pushed the lead to 19 and had the O'Dome rocking.
The Gators were up 22 after Dorian Finney-Smith's third 3 of the half and led 49-28 at the break.
But Kentucky coach John Calipari must have delivered some kind of halftime speech. The Wildcats opened the second half by pounding the ball inside, getting Randle more involved.
Kentucky used a 15-0 run to cut the lead to 53-47, quieting the arena and giving the Wildcats confidence they could pull off the upset.
But Wilbekin responded with a huge 3 with 12 minutes remaining. Prather followed with several driving layups, none bigger than the one that turned into a three-point play and pushed the lead back to 17.
Florida coasted from there, and shortly after the final horn, Young announced to the crowd that they would cut down the nets. The Gators opted not to do that after they clinched the SEC regular-season title last week, but wanted to do it Saturday.
It was a fitting end to what was an emotional day for the seniors, who have national title expectations.
They were honored at midcourt before the game and presented with framed jerseys. They had to notice the sign that read, "Hey Kentucky, this is what Senior Day looks like."
They topped the first celebration with the net-cutting ceremony.
The conference played an 18-game conference schedule from 1967 through 1991, and then expanded the league slate last season with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M. Only two SEC schools have managed a 17-1 mark: Kentucky accomplished the feat twice (1970, 1986), and LSU did it in 1981.
But no one had gone 18-0 until now.