LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Quick postgame thoughts from Rupp Arena, where No. 3 Kentucky beat Florida 74-66 on Sunday:
The Gators showed they could hang tough against a top-5 team on the road. After trailing by 18 in the first half, they fought back to get within two at 60-58 with 6:52 left. But like the teams' earlier meeting in Gainesville, Kentucky pulled away late. And now Florida may be on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble, ending the regular season at 20-11 and limping into the SEC tournament on a three-game losing streak. The Gators likely have to win at least one and possibly two games in Nashville to feel good about the news on Selection Sunday. If not, they could be headed to their third straight NIT.
John Wall had a quiet first half, at least by his standards. But the freshman always seems to make the big play at the most important time, and that happened again Sunday. Once Florida cut the lead to two, Wall found Patrick Patterson off a high pick and roll for a dunk. He then hit a 3-pointer and added a free throw to make it 66-60. The game was never in much doubt after that.
The Gators managed to handle Kentucky's size inside and actually dominated the points in the paint at 36-22. But their guards just couldn't get it going. Starting backcourt mates Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton combined to go just 8-of-29 from the field. Walker, who suffered through a miserable 3-for-15 shooting day, missed two wide-open 3s on one late trip with a chance to get his team back in the game.
Kentucky clinched the outright SEC title, its 44th conference crown.
More to come after postgame interviews.