GAINESVILLE, Fl. (WAVE) - University of Kentucky starting point guard, Ashton Hagans didn’t make the trip to Florida for personal reasons, and Immanuel Quickley fouled out with over nine minutes to go, but the Cats were still able to gut out a 71-70 win in Gainesville.
The Gators came out hot. Keyontae Johnson’s three capped a 7-0 run to start the game. Freshman forward, Keion Brooks got the start in Hagans place, and showed some range knocking down a first half tre, but the Cats trailed 40-30 at the half.
In the second half it looked like Florida was going to put it away. Noah Locke’s and one gave the Gators a 57-39 lead with 11:55 to go. To add insult to injury, Kentucky’s leading scorer, Quickley picked up his fifth foul on a reach in with 9:04 remaining. Despite all of that, back comes Kentucky. Brooks drills his second three of the game to cut it to a 10 point game. He finished with 10 points. Later, Cats trailing by three, Nick Richards with the turn around jumper to cut the lead to 68-67 Gators. He led everybody with 19 points. Florida led 70-69 late, Brooks misses, but EJ Montgomery is there for the tip. After review for offensive basket interference, the basket is ruled good giving UK its first lead at 71-70. The Gators had one last chance to win it, but Andrew Nembhards halfcourt heave hit the rim twice and missed. “They love to win, but we’ve been in so many close games it’s incredible. I can’t tell you. Every game with two minutes to go it’s anybody’s game,” said head coach, John Calipari after the game.
Kentucky will be the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament. They’re scheduled to begin play on Friday at 1 PM in the quarterfinal round in Nashville.