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Top High Fived
Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:19 PM
Saturday March 10, 2012Gators Come Up Just Short in Upset Bid of Top-Ranked Kentucky
(photo courtesy U.S. Presswire)
NEW ORLEANS -- The Gators turned up the pace on Saturday against No. 1-ranked Kentucky, but in the end, the Wildcats pulled out a 74-71 win in the SEC Tournament semifinals thanks to a big second-half surge.
The loss ended Florida’s stay in New Orleans and the Gators (23-10) now must wait to learn of their NCAA Tournament destination on Sunday night.
Playing at a much faster tempo than six days earlier when the Gators lost by 20 points to Kentucky in the regular-season finale in Gainesville, Florida led by as many as 10 points (31-21) in the first half before Kentucky took its first lead on a Anthony Davis 3-pointer for a 40-39 halftime lead.
However, the Gators regained the lead early in the second half and led 56-51 with 10:42 as they tried to avoid a third loss to the Wildcats (32-1) this season. Instead, Kentucky stormed back with a 14-0 run as the Gators went more than six minutes without scoring.
Kentucky led by as many as nine points before Erik Murphy, who scored a career-high 24 points, scored seven consecutive points to bring the Gators back. Murphy’s offensive put-back with 17.3 seconds left trimmed Kentucky’s lead to 70-68 but Marquis Teague hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to 70-66 to essentially seal the win for the Kentucky.
The Wildcats have now won 24 consecutive games and will face the Vanderbilt-Ole Miss winner in the SEC Tournament championship on Sunday.
The Gators were trying to beat the nation’s No. 1-ranked team for the first time since knocking off Ohio State in the 2007 NCAA Championship game. But the Wildcats were too much down the stretch, outrebounding UF 36-22.
Check back at GatorZone.com later for complete coverage from New Orleans.
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