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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

PENNY'S PERSPECTIVE: Gators Surprise Wildcats With 94-91 Win at Rupp Arena

By Penny Deatrick

In what could be titled, “A Series of Unfortunate Events,“ the unranked Florida Gators left Rupp Arena with a 94-91 victory over No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats. In front of a loud and full Rupp Arena crowd, the Gators took advantage of opportunities and edged out the Cats in overtime.

Reed Sheppard of Kentucky in action against Florida Wednesday night at Rupp Arena. (Photo by Rob Raymond)

The first unfortunate event occurred prior to the game when it was announced UK freshman starters Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner would not be playing due to injuries. It was widely believed that this could be the first game the Cats would have a full roster of eligible players.

Starting the game were Reed Sheppard, Antonio Reeves, Ugonna Onyenso, Adou Thiero and Tre Mitchell.

The Cats were able to pull ahead late in the first half by 10 points, 39-29, but Florida cut that lead by half at intermission, 41-36. The Gators opened the second half by continuing to cut into the Kentucky lead, eventually tying the game at 49 all with 15:47 left in the half.

Florida continued utilizing opportunities and capitalized on mistakes made by the Cats. It's safe to say in many ways like, “The Little Engine that Could."

The exciting game featured 15 ties and 29 lead changes. Kentucky appeared to have the win when Rob Dilllingham was fouled and made the first free throw with a score of 84-81. Florida’s Walter Clayton Jr. hit a three-pointer with five seconds left to send the game into overtime at 84-84.

The overtime period was “Where the Sidewalk Ends” for the Cats. Sheppard played all 45 minutes of the game, while Dillingham played a career-high 39 minutes. Sheppard had 20 points and six assists. Dillingham, for the third time this season, scored at least 20 points.

Perhaps UK’s “Ferdinand the Bull” was Onyenso. His impressive stats include 13 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 blocked shots, and 2 steals. This was without doubt his best game as a Wildcat. What should have been a celebration, unfortunately, was overshadowed by the Kentucky loss.

Sheppard said, “I’m super, super proud of Ugo. I thought he fought really hard, played his butt off. He was very big for us tonight and he gets better every day.”

Florida coach Todd Golden commented as well saying, “Goodness gracious, he’s playing really well, and you can tell that he is becoming more confident out there as well.”

Kentucky boss John Calipari said he was disappointed that the Cats lost. He indicated he was exhausted just as the players were, adding, “I’m proud of how we fought. I'm just disappointed because we had our chances. ..... But they played too many minutes . I had no choice. I had to.”

On Saturday night, things do not get easier. No. 5 Tennessee visits UK at Rupp Arena for an 8:30 p.m. ET game on ESPN. Let’s hope the Cats can shake this loss off and beat the Vols.

My Thoughts:

1. The Cats missed DJ Wagner.

2. The path is a tough one to finish off the SEC.

3. “Goodnight Moon”

Penny Deatrick is a staff writer from Louisville.


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