- Brian Bennett, College Football
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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Some quick initial thoughts after No. 1 Kentucky dismantled No. 7 Florida 78-58 on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, where UK is now 48-0 under John Calipari:
Overview: Florida is the most talented team Kentucky has played in several weeks, but the Gators were simply outmatched in just about every phase of this one. The Wildcats played stifling defense, holding one of the nation's highest-scoring and best-shooting teams to just 35 percent from the field and 6-of-27 on 3-pointers (the six makes were a season-low). Meanwhile, they got to the rim nearly at will and hit 9-of-15 3s (a season-high 60 percent) themselves to bust the game wide open in the second half. Yep, this is the No. 1 team in the country.
Turning point: After trailing 38-26 at the half, Florida scored two quick buckets to get back within eight points. John Calipari called timeout 58 seconds into the half, and his team responded with a quick 11-0 run to seize momentum by the throat. Marquis Teague and Darius Miller hit 3-pointers during the run, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist capped it with a pretty spin move for a layup and a foul.
Star of the game: Kidd-Gilchrist played his usual solid all-around game, scoring 13 points to go along with 13 rebounds and three assists. His slashing ability made a mockery of Florida's transition defense in the first half. Not to be forgotten: UK's other double-double came from Teague, with 12 points and 10 assists.
What the win means for Kentucky: The 24-1 Wildcats, 10-0 in the SEC for the first time in seven years, proved they could blow out top-notch competition after going more than a month without playing a single ranked team. Even with a quiet night from Terrence Jones, Calipari's team still rolled. This week looked to be the toughest SEC stretch of the year for Kentucky, which plays Vanderbilt on Saturday in what is sure to be a raucous environment at Memorial Gymnasium. If the Wildcats survive there, finishing with a perfect conference record becomes a distinct possibility.
What the loss means for Florida: The Gators (19-5, 7-2) are now 2-5 outside of Gainesville and sit two games behind Kentucky in the loss column in the SEC East standings. Realistically, they needed to play a great game to beat the Wildcats in Lexington, and that certainly didn't happen. They'll have to hope Kentucky loses somewhere else, like this weekend in Nashville, and then try to pick them off in Gainesville in the season finale to claim the division title.
Up next: Kentucky faces its most difficult league road game to date on Saturday at Vanderbilt. Florida has Tennessee at home that same day.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Some quick initial thoughts after No. 1 Kentucky dismantled No. 7 Florida 78-58 on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, where UK is now 48-0 under John Calipari:Overview: Florida is the most talented team Kentucky has played in several weeks, but the Gators were simply outmatched in just about every phase of this one.