GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If you doubted Kentucky’s ability to make a run to the Final Four and likely challenge Kansas and Texas for the national championship then you were not alone.
It was natural. The Wildcats were led by freshmen, had not truly been tested on the road and hadn’t really experienced the SEC.
Well, forget about the doubt or the denial.
Kentucky proved Tuesday night with a 89-77 win over Florida at the O’Connell Center the Wildcats are here to stay for the long haul and have the speed, size, defense, rebounding and the star potential to win the title.
Florida put up a valiant effort but the Gators just weren’t strong enough inside, didn’t shoot well enough on the perimeter save for a thrilling second-half 3-point showcase from 5-8 sophomore Erving Walker.
Kentucky had every answer, every time, as the Wildcats responded to the Gators ability to tie the game with a blistering 14-1 run. Eric Bledsoe was the show to start the game for the Wildcats, but as always John Wall was the closer.
Wall missed a 3-pointer and the Gators went a run that looked like they were going to get back in the game. But with Kenny Boynton free on the break, Wall recovered and blocked his shot from behind. Wall then silenced the Gators’ crowd with a 3-pointer, a smile and could have had a curtain call.
Bledsoe finished with 25 points while Wall had 19. Kentucky finished shooting 51.4 percent, Florida struggled at 38 percent, 8 of 27 and didn’t have a chance in the final minute.
Get used to it America, Kentucky is a real threat to win the title. If you didn’t believe it before Tuesday, you have no excuse now.