Florida defeated Kentucky 66-64 in Rupp Arena.

Game Notes 

From UK Athletics 

ATTENDANCE: 24,394 (season high)

Final Score: Florida 66, #18/16 Kentucky 64

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Florida is 14-5 overall, 6-1 in league play.
  • Kentucky leads the series 100-39, including 51-10 in games played in Lexington.
  • Kentucky finishes the two-game homestand Tuesday at 9 p.m. vs. Mississippi State.  The game will be televised on ESPN.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the sixth time this season. UK is 4-2 with this lineup.
  • The game was evenly played until the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to create a 28-20 gap.
  • However, at that point the Cats went cold – no field goals in the final five minutes of the half – and Florida finished with a 13-3 run to take a 33-31 advantage at intermission.
  • UK is 4-3 this season when trailing at halftime.

In the Second Half

  • Florida came out hot and extended its lead to 45-37, forcing a UK timeout at 15:24.
  • Kentucky extended its streak of 1,032 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Diallo connected with 8:08 left in the game.
  • UK went ahead 56-53 on a GIlgeous-Alexander 3-pointer with 5:35 to go.
  • Florida responded with an 11-2 run to ahead 64-58.
  • Kentucky hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to draw within 66-64.
  • After a Florida missed free throw, UK had a chance to tie or win on the final possession but Florida blocked two shots and got a steal to hang on to the win.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky had a pair of home winning streaks broken tonight. UK had won 16 in a row at Rupp Arena and won 30 consecutive games against SEC opponents.
  • UK outrebounded Florida 49-38.  This is the first time this season UK won despite winning the rebounding. The Wildcats are 13-1 this season when winning the battle of the boards.
  • UK is 41-9 under Coach John Calipari in bounce-back games after losses, including 3-1 this season. This is the first time this season UK has lost consecutive games.
  • ESPN’s popular traveling show, College GameDay, was broadcast from Rupp Arena this morning. It’s the 15th time that GameDay has hosted from a UK game, including the seventh time at Rupp Arena.
    • UK will be involved in back-to-back GameDays next week as the road show makes its way to Morgantown for UK’s game Jan. 27 at West Virginia.

Player Notes

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 10 points and led the Wildcats with six assists.
  • Nick Richards scored eight points and led the Wildcats with nine rebounds.
  • Wenyen Gabriel came off the bench to score 10 points and collect seven rebounds.
  • After a three-game absence because of injury, Quade Green returned to action. He played 17 minutes and totaled two points and two assists.

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has a 708-198 all-time on-court record.
  • Calipari is now 263-58 at Kentucky, tying Orlando “Tubby” Smith for third-most wins as a Kentucky coach.
  • Calipari is 145-7 at Rupp Arena, including 127-4 against unranked opponents.
  • Calipari is 15-7 vs. Florida in his career.

Postgame interviews 

Wenyen Gabriel 

Nick Richards

Sacha Killeya-Jones 

Mike White 

Florida Players

Box Score 

Season Stats

Quotes

UK Player Quotes

#4, Nick Richards, Fr., Forward

On if it is frustrating to have a comeback and the game come down to the wire like that …

“We actually did it to ourselves. We made certain plays that weren’t safe, threw the ball out of bounds trying to pass it to Hami (Diallo) in the backdoor. Me — I put myself in a bad position by not hustling for offensive rebounds. We basically dug ourselves into that hole.”

On tonight being a step forward for him …

“I’m not really focusing on my personal goals in this. We lost. The only accomplishment I want is to win. It doesn’t matter if I play three minutes or 40 minuets, I just want to win.”

On if he is important to the team …    

“Everyone on this team is important. Everyone needs to know their roles. Everybody’s role on this team is important in order for us to win.”

On being effective defensively

“We just locked in on defense and tried to get shots. We focused on their three-pointers; they made a couple in the first half so in the second half we tried to focus in on that a little bit more, but it wasn’t enough—that’s that.”

#32, Wenyen Gabriel, So., Forward

On what Coach Calipari said after the game …

“After the game — he talked about a few plays prior to that — but we dug ourselves in a hole and we had to climb out of it. You can’t blame it on the last couple of plays or officiating, so that’s on us. We’ve got to work to get better there, and we have to focus on our game coming up.”

On Coach Calipari being encouraged by the way his team played today …

“That’s what he told y’all? Well, that’s good. That’s showing his confidence in us. We had some good practices prior to this game. I thought we were going to come out with a W today. This loss definitely hurt. This might be the type of loss that brings us back together.”

On being strong inside today …

“I mean, I was just seeing the openings inside the paint so I was being a little more aggressive there. After I had my first one in there, I knew I could get them again in the paint. I felt like we had size over there. When guys were throwing the ball in when I was posting up, I was just doing them strong.”

#1, Sacha Killeya-Jones, So., Forward

On Coach Calipari after the game … 

“He said we fought, which is what we’re supposed to do. When we were up, we were in the position to win. When we are in that position, we have to execute, push those leads instead of giving it up.”

On the team mindset … 

“As a team, there is no lack of confidence. We understand that we have work to do. We can’t go out there and mess around. We have to go out there and fight. These teams come out here and try to beat us. When we’re in those types of situations like we were today — when we’re up three with a couple of minutes to go — we just really have to come together and execute.”

On playing down the stretch … 

“It’s something we’ve been struggling with. It’s been tough down the stretch and executing. We’ve been giving up those leads. We’re a young team but that’s not an excuse. I take a lot of responsibility as a second-year player. I want to become a better leader. I’ve been through this, and I’ve seen similar situations before. I take responsibility. I need to become a better leader, help my team more and help us get through that. It’s something I really need to work on.”

Florida Head Coach Mike White

On ability to win despite not shooting well …

“It’s growth. This team has gotten a lot better as a lot of teams in our league have. That’s what it’s all about – it’s a marathon and it’s a process. I think one would argue that we’re not as good offensively as we were earlier in the year and at times people may be right, but I know we’re a hell of a lot better defensively than we were in October. It gives us more of a chance night in and night out, but to win one like this – if you would’ve asked me coming into this one at Rupp going 6-of-30 for three, I would’ve said no way. I thought it would be really difficult for us. I thought we showed a lot of resilience and turned them over enough and defended at a pretty high level. I thought Kentucky played really hard. They defended at such a high level and we’ve had a couple of those 6-for-30 nights. Not as many this year, but this year we had some pretty good looks, but not so many tonight. We were able to just win it very ugly.”

On being more steady than Kentucky during the final stretch …

“I don’t want to say Kentucky was unsteady, I don’t want to say that. I like Jalen talking about how steady we were. I’m not sure we should be commenting on them. They’re obviously a very young team and a very talented team and a team that I thought was extremely prepared and a team that defended us at as high a level as any team has defended us this year. You would hope that with us being a fairly experienced team that we would play with poise. We did play with poise tonight – much-need poise playing in front of 24,000 people. It got very loud in there and it could’ve gotten away from us there about two-thirds the way through the first half. We settled in a little bit and made some big baskets. Late second half; between eight minutes and four minutes, we made plays right under the rim when it was really loud and converted. Chris Chiozza hit a huge late clock three-pointer. He came on and had a big one in transition. Those were the offensive bright spots for us.”

On what he saw during final minutes of game … 

“I saw my guys flying around trying to make plays. Hands on basketballs down the stretch, really active, and again – resiliency. Kentucky went in and hit two daggers right went you thought it was done. At that point it kind of felt like the NCAA tournament last year when during the Wisconsin game when you’re worried about your guys’ mojo and after those blows can we step up and get one more stop? And we were fortunate to do so.”

On Egor Koulechov …

“For a guy to affect a game in that regard and also go away 0-8 tells you about his tenacity, maturity, and experience. I believe in him. He played 31 minutes. I just feel like the next one’s going in and he’s really trying to move his feet. He’s such a scrappy rebounder. This guy is 6’5 and he’s not overly long and he finds a way to get to the offense fast, secure defensive rebounds. He’s a winner.”

On Chris Chiozza’s second half performance …

“Terrific. I mean he was terrific the entire game. 13 (points), eight (rebounds) and one (assist). Wow eight (assists) and one (turnover) in this environment. To play with that amount of poise and toughness with six rebounds. The timely shots, the timely assists and the guy had cramps the whole second half. I mean I can’t say enough about Chris Chiozza. I am really glad he is my point guard.”

On what he saw differently defensively from Kentucky …

“I don’t know if I can put my thumb on it. I’m just not as familiar with Coach Cal’s team as obviously he and his staff are. And you don’t know this is the first time. After they play at our place later on, I’ll be able to compare those two performances. This team is so different than last year’s team. Last year’s Kentucky team obviously and it is my first time seeing them live. I thought they played hard and defended. Obviously they are a very good team. I’ve thought that all year, even when I watched them on film and watched them on TV. We are all trying to watch each other as much as possible, SEC basketball. Live, I was really impressed with the length in person, the closing speed on shooters, the attention to detail. I thought Nick Richards did a good job on ball screen defense. Kevin Knox and Gabriel with their length getting the shooter. Diallo’s speed getting the shooters. It was pretty suffocating. They cover ground with that length and that speed. There wasn’t much space on the floor for us to get to the rim or to get an open three off. And then when we put our head down and got to the rim, everything was contested at the rim.”

On getting a victory with a poor shooting performance …

“Hopefully it continues to promote the buy in necessary to be more consistent in these areas, defending and on the glass. You know we got outrebounded by nine I see that, excuse me 11. I don’t know that we could have given much more effort on the glass. I thought that was as hard as we have played on the glass. Hopefully just educational for us and understanding we have an ability to win ugly. You can go 6-of-30 and find a way to win. Obviously I hope we don’t go 6-of-30 next go around. I thought we got a taste of it in the Cincinnati game. Kevin brought that up earlier. Now we have another one to hang our hat on and another testament to the fact that maybe this team is a little bit tougher. They believe in the fact that we are a little bit tougher and better defensively than we were in October.”

On winning at Rupp Arena …

“You know same thing. Winning at Rupp Arena is enormous, right but just as I told my guys we are seven conference games in. We have 11 conference games left so I mean it’s a big win. Wednesday night is going to be a big opportunity. Very, very challenging game for us. It’s a marathon. If we want to continue to progress and develop, we’ve got to approach it as such. Huge, we’ll celebrate this tonight and get ready to get back to work tomorrow.”

Florida Student-Athletes

#3, Jalen Hudson , G

On the last two defensive plays of the game … 

“We just literally had to sit down in a stance the whole 25 seconds. We didn’t know what they were going to do. We knew they were drawing up something coming out of the time out. So, we knew they were going to No. 5 (Knox) or 32 (Gabriel). They were getting the shot so we had to be ready for it. They were getting to the rim all game so we just had to be in a stance and be ready. We had to make sure that they drove into our hands and make them finish over us. So, we just had to stay poised in the last two minutes to go.”

On playing in Rupp Arena … 

“I would say this was loud, if not louder (than Cameron Indoor Stadium). There were definitely more people here than Cameron (Indoor Stadium). So, it is crazy loud in here. It is probably one of the best arenas I have played in. I couldn’t even hear myself think.”

On how their experience showed in the final two minutes …

“I feel like they made some critical mistakes in the end. I don’t know if it was lack of experience or just not playing it correctly. I feel like we were so much more poised than they were. I feel like they were trying to take all the right shots at one point. So I just feel like we were just a little bit more poised. I feel like we were taking better shots even though we missed a lot of our threes, a lot of the shots that we normally take. I just really feel like our experience helped. Maybe that was just in my mind because we were the older team and I just felt more experienced.”

# 11, Chris Chiozza, G

On whether he thought Florida could miss so many shots and still come out with a win at Rupp Arena …

“No, I promise I didn’t think that. We tended to struggle a little bit – certain games when we don’t hit shots. But we’re showing that some games when we don’t hit shots, we do a good job. You know, being tough and getting a lot of loose balls. You just play hard and find out ways to win and we did that tonight.”

On battling a taller team …

“That’s kind of the norm for us right now. Every game we go into, we’ve been the smaller team. We kind of take the underdog mentality. We do box out drills every day in practice, so we’re ready for it. I thought we just battled, you know what I mean? That was the key. They were still getting rebounds over the top of our head, and we were just battling and never gave up and so I thought that was critical.”

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