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CATS v. Florida – Post Game Notes

Tyrese Maxey - photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

CATS get huge win in Gainesville.

Final Score: No. 6/6 Kentucky 71, Florida 70

Team Records and Series Notes                                       

  • Kentucky concluded the regular season 25-6 overall. UK, which clinched its 49th Southeastern Conference regular-season championship last weekend with a win over Auburn, finished the 2020 SEC season at 15-3 and with a three-game cushion in the league.
  • Florida competed its regular season with a 19-12 record, 11-7 in the league.
  • UK leads the series 104-40 and has won four in a row, including both games this season.
    • Kentucky leads 37-26 in games played in Gainesville, Florida, including two straight victories.
  • Next up: Kentucky heads to the postseason. The Wildcats have earned the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament and will face the winner of the 8-9 game on Friday at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
    • Entering Saturday’s games, five teams – Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas – were in play for the 8 and 9 seeds.

Team Notes 

  • It was a wild week, as the Wildcats lost a 17-point lead in the second half Tuesday at home vs. Tennessee before rallying from 18 points down today, the second-biggest comeback of the John Calipari era at Kentucky. 
  • The last time Kentucky won after trailing by 18 points or more came on Feb. 28, 2017, when the Wildcats rallied from 19 down at home against Vanderbilt (25-6, 8:03 first half). 
  • The Wildcats are now 55-13 under John Calipari in “bounce back” games following a loss.
  • Kentucky led only 11 seconds in the game, following EJ Montgomery’s game-winning tip-in.
  • UK won despite allowing Florida to shoot 52.1% from the field, the second game in a row that the Wildcats’ opponent shot 50% or better from the field.
    • It’s UK’s first victory this season in four tries when allowing the opponent to shoot 50% or better.
  • Kentucky still managed to win by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and leading second-chance points 21-6.
  • As Florida did, UK also shot it well today. The Cats shot 47.4% from the field, including 61.5% from 3-point range (8 of 13) and 81.8% at the foul line.
  • Entering the game leading the SEC at 79.6% at the foul line, Kentucky made 9 of 11 free throws (81.8%).
    • UK has made at least 75% at the line in 14 straight games.
  • In 25 of 31 games, the margin has been seven or fewer points in the last seven minutes.
    • This was the 17th game this season within one possession in the final six minutes. 
  • Kentucky ended the season 8-2 in true road games.

Player Notes   

  • Nick Richards, with a dominant second half, scored in double figures for the third straight game with 19 points, to go along with a game-high seven rebounds.
    • Richards scored 13 points during UK’s 30-11 game-ending run.
    • The junior was 7 of 11 from the floor with 17 points in the second half after going 1 for 7 in the first half with two points.
  • Playing a career-high 33 minutes, Johnny Juzang provided 10 points off the bench for his second career game in double figures.
    • He was 3 for 3 from the floor in the first half with seven points to keep the Wildcats close.
  • Nate Sestina provided big minutes (26) off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.
    • His 26 minutes were his most since Feb. 18 at LSU.
  • Keion Brooks Jr. tallied 10 points, his fifth double-figure game of the season, all Wildcat wins.
    • He hit his first 3-pointer since the Fairleigh Dickinson game on Dec. 7 and would hit a another one in the second half, his most in a game this season.
    • He entered the game with three 3-pointers this season, all made consecutively in three consecutive games in late November and early December.
  • With 12 points, Immanuel Quickley extended his double-digit scoring streak to 20 consecutive games, the best streak since Malik Monk’s 30 straight games in 2016-17.
    • He also extended his 3-point streak to 11 consecutive games.
    • Quickley fouled out with 9:04 left in the game.
    • A testament to how well he’s played during this 20-game run, his 12 points are his fewest since totaling 11 vs. Vanderbilt on Jan. 29.
  • EJ Montgomery made the game-winning shot, a tip-in with 11 seconds left on Brooks’ only miss of the game.
  • Ashton Hagans did not make the trip to Florida for personal reasons. John Calipari’s statement before the game: “He and I met a couple days ago and he asked to step away for a couple days for personal reasons. I support his decision. We are going to need him at 100% for the postseason.”

Coach John Calipari 

  • Calipari is now 330-77 at UK.
  • He has a 775-217 all-time on-court record. 
  • UK is 267-44 vs. Associated Press unranked foes under Calipari.
  • Kentucky is 151-41 under Calipari in SEC regular-season games.
  • Calipari is 19-8 all-time vs. Florida.
  • The Wildcats are 6-5 in Gainesville under Calipari.

In the First Half 

  • The starting lineup consisted of Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Keion Brooks Jr., EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards for the first time this season.
    • Johnny Juzang came into the game at the 18:20 mark as UK’s first substitution.
  • Florida opened the game with a 7-0 run, forcing John Calipari to burn a timeout just 1:40 into the game.
  • Richards ended the run with UK’s first bucket, a layup at the 17:43 mark.
  • Quickley scored seven of the Wildcats’ first 14 points but picked up his second foul – an offensive foul – at the 7:22 mark and had to head to the bench with Florida staking to an early 25-14 lead.
  • The Wildcats responded admirably without their leading scorer on the floor by recording the next six points.
  • Juzang provided a big first-half lift with seven points. All three of his jumpers – including a late 3-pointer – were from the left wing.
  • Florida took a 40-30 halftime lead to the locker room, UK’s largest halftime deficit of the season.
    • The Wildcats are now 5-3 when trailing at halftime this season.

In the Second Half 

  • Kentucky started the second half with Maxey, Quickley, Juzang, Montgomery and Richards.
  • UK cut the 10-point halftime deficit to five after a Quickley 3-pointer.
  • Leading 45-37, Florida went on a 12-2 run to take a 57-39 lead. The Gators matched it moments later, 59-41, at the 11:48 mark. 
  • Kentucky rallied steadily, outscoring Florida 30-11 the remainder of the game.
    • Trailing 70-67, Brooks hit a driving floater in the lane with 59 seconds.
    • After UK forced a shot clock violation, Brooks missed a jumper but Montgomery was there to tip it in with 11 seconds left for UK’s first lead of the game.
    • Tight defense forced another Florida turnover, and after UK missed a one-and-one free throw, Andrew Nembhard’s 3-pointer missed at the buzzer.
  • All six remaining Wildcats (Quickley had fouled out) scored during the 30-11 run, including 13 points by Richards and seven by Brooks.

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