UK drops second straight as Florida slips past the Cats


Chris Chiozza drives past Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to score a layup in the first half of the Kentucky and Florida game at Rupp Arena on Jan. 20, 2018. Photo by Carter Gossett

After College GameDay got the show started at Rupp Arena early Saturday, the Kentucky basketball team was not able to close out the day with a win, as the Cats lost to Florida 66-64. 

Kentucky is now on a two-game losing streak, and te Cats’ record drops to 14-5 (4-3 SEC.) Florida’s conference record improves to 6-1 to stay in the hunt at the top of the SEC standings with Auburn.

UK’s offense got a boost with the addition of Jarred Vanderbilt and Quade Green being active, but the Cats only had two scorers finish in double-figures: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Wenyen Gabriel.

Both Gilgeous-Alexander and Gabriel finished with 10 points, with Gilgeous-Alexander also tacking on four rebounds and six assists.

Kentucky barely led in the second half, but took a brief lead after Gilgeous-Alexander came up with a steal and scored on the other end. Gilgeous-Alexander also scored a three to give UK a three-point lead.

Florida used a 9-2 run to get back into the game and give themselves a four-point lead with under two minutes remaining. UK would then miss three straight three-pointers while KeVaughn Allen made a pair of free throws to make UK’s chances of a comeback very slim. 

However, Gabriel and Kevin Knox both made threes on UK’s next possession. They would intentionally foul Keith Stone on the next play, who missed the front end of a one-and-one to give the Cats one last chance with 19 seconds left trailing by two.

UK had three attempts to win or tie the game, as Florida knocked the ball out of bounds on UK’s first two possessions. On the third possession with two seconds left, Quade Green turned the ball over and Chris Chiozza came up with the steal, sealing the game for the Cats. 

Chiozza would finish with 13 points, six rebounds and eight assists for the Gators. Jalen Hudson, who hit a pair of free throws late to help cushion Florida’s lead, finished as the Gators’ lead scorer with 17 points.

Kentucky did a good job limiting the SEC’s leading three-point shooting team, as the Gators shot 20 percent beyond the arc. However, Florida made up for it at the free throw line, where the team went 16-25 while the Cats attempted 12 free throws.

UK will attempt to end its two-game skid on Jan. 23, when the Cats host Mississippi State at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is at 9 p.m.