SPORTS VIEW AMERICA – We Are Your Top Sports Source …
Please check us out on TWITTERINSTAGRAM, & FACEBOOK …
Thousands of Sports Photos located at SVA PHOTOS

The ‘Cats fell to the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena on Wednesday night by a score of 94-91. Kentucky is in the midst of experiencing the tough grind of the SEC schedule. After dropping a road game to South Carolina in the mid-week game last week, the ‘Cats went on the road and won at Bud Walton Arena in Arkansas on Saturday. The ‘Cats had struggled to score the past 2 games, averaging just 62.5 PPG in the last 2 matchups. The ‘Cats had hoped to continue to right the ship at home against the Gators, but faltered as Florida hit 12 three-pointers on their way to the upset win. Walter Clayton Jr. hit 7 threes in the game and posted a team-high 23-points. Sheppard led the offensive charge for Kentucky, with 24-points. Ugonna Onyesno also had his best game in a Kentucky uniform with 13-points, 16-rebounds, and 8-blocks. Onyenso earned his first start of the season in Wednesday nights game. Tre Mitchell struggled throughout the game for Kentucky, but maintained his prominent leadership role in the game. The ‘Cats have not played a single game this season with a full roster available. That trend continued on Wednesday, with starting PG DJ Wagner out with an ankle injury, and starting SF Justin Edwards out with a leg injury. The ‘Cats also dropped the only other game Wagner has missed this season (80-73 loss to UNCW). After putting together their best defensive effort of the season at Arkansas, the ‘Cats continued their defensive trend in the first half tonight. That defensive effort declined in the second half and overtime with a lack of closing out shooters and providing too many second chance opportunities for the Gators. The ‘Cats will hope to get healthier prior to their big matchup this coming Saturday (February 3) when they welcome the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers into Rupp Arena. 

Florida entered Wednesday nights game with a 14-6 record on the season and a 4-3 record in conference play. The ‘Cats defeated the Gators in Gainesville earlier this month by a score of 87-85. The Gators offense is led by Walter Clayton Jr. (15.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.8 APG), Zyon Pullin (14.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.8 APG), and Tyrese Samuel (13.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG).

The spread for Wednesday night’s matchup versus Florida was -7.5 (UK). The Over/Under point total was set at 170.5.

With Wagner and Edwards out, the ‘Cats unveiled a new starting lineup of Reed Sheppard, Antonio Reeves, Adou Thiero, Tre Mitchell, and Ugonna Onyenso.

Game Recap:

First Half

The ‘Cats won the tip and turned the ball over on the first possession of the game. Onyenso, who received his first start of the season, collected a block on the first defensive stand for the ‘Cats. Mitchell found Thiero out of a trap and Thiero nailed a three for the first points of the game. Florida responded with a three. Reeves hit a deep corner three to put Kentucky in front 6-3. Onyenso hit two free-throws and Reeves converted an easy drive for a 10-6 lead. The ‘Cats led 10-8 at the first media timeout. Dillingham checked in and scored on a jumper. The Gators rattled off 6 straight points to take a 14-12 lead. Sheppard pulled up for a jumper at the free-throw line to tie the game. Zvonimir Ivisic entered for the ‘Cats out of the next timeout. Ivisic was fouled on a shot attempt and went to the line to hit 1 of 2 free-throws. Sheppard curled down the lane for an easy layup. Dillingham responded to a turnover and Gators thre with a three of his own after good ball movement from the ‘Cats. The Gators responded with another three to push their lead to 22-20 Florida. Dillingham then responded once again with a three of his own. Florida then converted an and-one chance in the paint. Mitchell posted up on the block and scored on a hook. The ‘Cats led 25-24 at the under 8-minute timeout. Mitchell isolated again and scored on a fade-away jumper. Dillingham threw a bullet pass to Sheppard in the corner for a three to give Kentucky a 30-28 lead. Onyenso erased back-to-back Gator shots and then cleaned up the glass for a lay-in following a Sheppard miss. Sheppard took his man off the dribble and scored at the rim. The ’Cats led 34-28 at the under 4-minute media timeout. Reeves nailed a three out of the timeout and then found Bradshaw for a huge slam to push the ‘Cats lead to 39-29. Sheppard hit a floater in the paint. The Gators rattled off 5 straight points to end the half and the ‘Cats took a 41-36 lead into halftime.

The ’Cats held Florida to 36% shooting from the floor but 45% (5 of 11) form 3PT. The Gators committed just 4 turnovers and had 7 assists and 2 steals. The ‘Cats shot 46% from the field and 55% (6 of 11) from beyond the arc. The ‘Cats turned the ball over just 4 times in the first half and created 8 assists and 1 steal as a team.

Halftime: Kentucky 41 – Florida 36

Second Half

The second half began with another Onyesno block around the basket. The scoring began with a Florida and-one to bring the Gators within 2. The Gators then took the lead with a three. Onyesno responded with a slam off a Sheppard pass. The ‘Cats got a run out that ended with a Reeves slam to put Kentucky up 45-42. Sheppard peeled to the rim for a layup but the Gators hit a three in response to tie the game at 47. Onyesno gathered an offensive board and slammed home the lead for Kentucky. There were 5 total foul calls in the first 4-minutes of game action in the second half. Sheppard found Thiero for an and-one opportunity to give Kentucky a 51-49 lead. Clayton Jr. responded with another three to give the lead back to Florida. Thiero muscled his way to another score. But the Gators continued to trade buckets and retook the lead, 54-53. Sheppard hit a floater in the paint, but Pullin drove to the rim and scored again. Onyenso gathered an offensive board and Dillingham nailed a deep three. Dillingham shook his man and nailed a mid-range jumper for a 60-58 ‘Cats lead. Sheppard hit a three after Florida tied it with a couple of free-throws. Florida responded with a three of his own. Sheppard drove to the apint and scored again. Dillingham played an angle off the backboard to score a layup. Reeves nailed a deep three to push the lead to 70-66 Kentucky. Clayton jr. hit a transition three to give Florida a 71-70 lead. Reeves responded with a mid-range jumper. Onyenso went to the line and hit both free-throws to give Kentucky a 74-73 lead with 5:19-minutes to play. Onyenso soared for a huge board and got fouled. He hit 1 of 2 free-throws and Kentucky led 75-73. Florida tied the game with a floater. Dillingham streaked by his defender on his way to the rim for a layup for the ‘Cats lead, but Florida slammed home an alley-oop to tie the game at 77 with 3:21-minutes to play. Reeves hit an angled floater to give the ‘Cats the lead. After a hectic sequence, Reeves found a defensive rebound and was fouled and sent to the line. Reeves hit both free-throws and Kentucky led 81-77. Florida scored under the basket after an offensive rebound. The Dillingham missed a deep jumper but Onyenso found the board and threw it back up towards the basket and in. The ‘Cats led 83-79 with 28-seconds to play. Florida scored in the paint. Dillingham hit 1 of 2 free-throws for a 3-point lead. Florida took the ball down the floor and Clayton Jr. nailed a three with 3-seconds left to tie the game. The ‘Cats fumbled a last second opportunity to win the game and the game went to overtime.


Overtime began with a Florida baseline jumper. Dillingham scored on a floater. Mitchell drove to the rim and got fouled. He made 1 of 2 free-throws and the ‘Cats led 87-86 with 2:49-minutes to play. Clayton Jr. hit a corner three to give Florida a 89-87 lead. Dillingham missed a running layup and Florida was fouled going to the rim. Pullin hit both free throws for a 91-87 Gators lead. Pullin hit 1 of 2 free-throws at the line to extend the lead to 92-87 Florida. Sheppard hit a deep three to narrow the deficit to 94-90 Gators. The ‘Cats stole the inbounds pass and Sheppard got fouled with 2-seconds to play. He made the first free throw and Coach Calipari called a timeout to draw up a play off a purposely missed free-throw. Sheppard missed the free-throw but Florida gathered the rebound and went on to win the game 94-91 in overtime.

Final: Kentucky 91 – Florida 94

Game Stats:

Florida FG %: 41% (43% 3PT – 12 of 28) (82% FT – 18 of 22)

Kentucky FG %: 45% (38% 3PT – 10 of 26) (65% FT – 11 of 17)

Rebounds: 50 – 48 Florida 

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 17:9

Turnovers: UK (9), Florida (9)

Bench Points: 23 – 14 Kentucky

Points off Turnovers: 7 – 3 Kentucky

Fast Break Points: 15 – 12 Kentucky

Paint Points: 42 – 34 Kentucky

Player Stats:

Reed Sheppard – [(24 points) (8 rebounds) (6 assists) (1 steal) (2 blocks)]

Rob Dillingham – [(20 points) (4 rebounds) (4 assists) (1 block)]

Antonio Reeves – [(19 points (4 rebounds) (3 assists) (1 steal)]

Ugonna Onyenso – [(13 points) (16 rebounds) (2 steals) (8 blocks)]

Adou Thiero – [(7 points) (2 rebounds) (1 assist) (1 steal) (1 block)]

Tre Mitchell – [(5 points) (9 rebounds) (3 assists) (1 steal) (1 block)]

Aaron Bradshaw – [(2 points) (1 block)]

Zvonimir Ivisic [(1 point) (2 rebounds)]

Jordan Burks – [(1 rebound)]

The ‘Cats (15-5, 5-3 SEC) return to Rupp Arena to take on the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers (15-5, 5-2 SEC) on February 3. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on ESPN.


Leave a Reply