Florida
Florida coach Todd Golden gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood)

Florida Men’s Basketball Falls to No. 6 Kentucky After Rough Second Half

The Florida Gators took their first loss at home this basketball season Saturday when they fell to the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats at the sold-out O’Connell Center, 87-85.

How It Happened

With 0.4 seconds remaining in the game, the Gators (10-4, 0-1 SEC) trailed by four points.

A foul is called on Kentucky and Florida freshman, Alex Condon lines up to shoot the (three) free throws. The score is 87-83.

Condon makes the first two shots and misses the third (purposefully), hoping for a tip-in from another teammate. The clock was too quick, and the ball was moved away by the opposing team, and the final buzzer sounded. Kentucky improved to 12-2, 1-0 in the SEC season-opener.

Strong Start

The environment in the Exactech Arena was electric, as both Florida and Kentucky fans showed out.

“I think it was a missed opportunity, for sure. I thought we played relatively well” UF coach Todd Golden said, “I thought we played pretty dang well in the first half.”

This was evident, as Florida took a 16-10 lead.

https://twitter.com/GatorsMBK/status/1743691358261666046

At the conclusion of the first half, the Gators held the lead at 45-37. They had been performing great offensively, and were successful shooting from the 3-point line.

Going into the half, Walter Clayton Jr. led Florida in scoring with 14 points.

Missed Opportunity

Out of the break, Kentucky came out strong and took an run with 3-pointer from Aaron Bradshaw putting the Wildcats in the lead.

From there, Florida was able to go on a five-point scoring run and take back the lead.

The Gators then got messy and allowed Kentucky to tie the score back up at 74. The Wildcats continued to hold onto the lead from that point, until the conclusion of the matchup.

“I think they just made more plays than us at the end of the day. You know, (we have) some correctable stuff we can fix” said senior guard Zyon Pullin, “We’ll be ready next game.”

Next Up

The Gators travel to Oxford, Miss., to face the Rebels (13-1, 0-1) at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

 

About Emma Pastis

Emma Pastis is an Orlando, FL native who is a second-year journalism student at the University of Florida.

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