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Bob Dixon

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Middlesboro, KY 40965

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Go Big Blue!

Kentucky Stops Florida 72-67

See Box Score below


By Jamie H. Vaught


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky continued its winning ways in the SEC as the Wildcats defeated Florida 72-67 for their sixth straight conference victory Saturday night at Rupp Arena.

Jacob Toppin of Kentucky dunks against Florida as teammate Oscar Tshiebwe watches during Saturday night's game at Rupp Arena. (Photo by Jamie Vaught)

UK never trailed in the matchup with its biggest lead of 14 points taking place in the second half with 8:19 remaining. But the Gators battled back to make the game much closer until freshman Cason Wallace hit two critical free throws with 13 seconds left, clinching the victory for the Wildcats.


And it was Wallace who led Kentucky’s balanced scoring attack with 20 points, including 10 of his team’s final 16 points. Senior Jacob Toppin added 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season. Senior CJ Fredrick gunned in 12 points, including 3 of 6 three-pointers.


Oscar Tshiebwe and Antonio Reeves had an off night in the scoring department with only four points each. Tshiebwe, who grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds, missed 12 of 14 field goals.


Asked about stepping up when Tshiebwe and Reeves struggled with field goal shooting, Wallace commented, “It just depends on who’s having their night. Everyone is a great player and is capable of scoring the basketball, so it just depends on whose night it is.”

Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky and Colin Castleton of Florida battle during Saturday night's matchup at Rupp Arena. (Photo by Jamie H. Vaught)

On Tshiebwe’s four-point night, UK coach John Calipari said, “He missed a bunch. But that’s all right. You know what? He was one of the happiest guys in that locker room.”


Six-foot-11 Colin Castleton of Florida (13-10 overall, 6-4 SEC) took the game scoring honors with 25 points. He also had eight rebounds and five assists, both team-highs.


Kentucky, which improves to 16-7 overall and 7-3 in SEC, plays Arkansas Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. The 9 p.m. (ET) game will be televised by ESPN.


* * *


Dan Issel on video scoreboard during Mike Pratt's jersey retirement ceremony. (Photo by Jamie H. Vaught)

During the halftime ceremony on the hardwood floor, the late Mike Pratt, who received All-American and All-SEC honors while at UK, became the 45th Wildcat jersey retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena.


Pratt’s radio broadcast partner, Tom Leach, was the master of ceremonies for the brief event. Pratt’s widow, Marcia, and his UK teammate, Dan Issel, also spoke at the ceremony. Issel is the school’s all-time leading scorer for the men’s program.


Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of six books about UK basketball, including newly-published “Forever Crazy About the Cats." He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com Magazine, and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.



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