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Kentucky Gets Chomped By Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Walter Hodge scored 18 points, Erving
Walker added 10 and Florida stopped a three-game losing skid with a
60-53 victory against Kentucky on Saturday.
The Wildcats dropped their fourth straight and eighth in their
last 11 games - a slide that could keep the storied Southeastern
Conference program out of the NCAA tournament for the first time
since 1991.
Kentucky (18-12, 8-8 SEC) likely will have to win the conference
tournament in Tampa next week to make the school's 18th consecutive
NCAA tournament.
Even with the win, the Gators (22-9, 9-7) could end up in the
NIT for the second straight year, but they certainly improved their
chances of getting back to the NCAA tournament. Florida still might
need to win a couple of games in the SEC tournament.
The Gators won't worry about that now. They will spend the next
few days celebrating their eighth win in the last 10 meetings with
Kentucky.
Hodge came up big in the latest victory, and he did it in what
might have been his final home game. Hodge, the program's all-time
winningest player with 114 wins, was honored before the game and
presented a framed jersey. He got a standing ovation then.
He got another one when he left the game with just a few seconds
left.
He was 7-of-12 shooting, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
Walker, though, might have made the biggest shots. The 5-foot-7
guard hit two 3-pointers in the second and helped Florida close out
the game with three free throws in the final two minutes.
Nick Calathes, who scored a career-high 33 points in the first
meeting, was 2-of-9 shooting and finished with five points and
seven assists. Alex Tyus added 11 points.
Patrick Patterson led the Wildcats with 16 points and 13
rebounds. Jodie Meeks added 15 points. Patterson and Meeks scored
23 of Kentucky's first 25 points, but weren't nearly as effective
down the stretch. They finished a combined 13-of-35 from the field.
Florida double- and triple-teamed Patterson in the post and kept
a man in Meeks' face the entire game. The Wildcats found a third
scorer - a problem most of the season - as Ramon Harris added 14
points. But the rest of the team managed just eight points.
Florida clinched the No. 3 seed in next week's SEC tournament,
which should be a much more favorable draw than the No. 4 seed that
Kentucky earned.
The Gators led by 12 points early in the second half, but the
Wildcats got it to 51-46 on Harris' dunk with 5:30 remaining. But
Kentucky turned the ball over too much and missed too many shots
down the stretch. The Cats finished with 23 turnovers and shot 43
percent from the floor and were just 2-of-11 from behind the arc.
Florida was much better from long range, finishing 8-of-21 from
3-point range.
The Gators got off to a strong start, making four of their first
five shots and all three from 3-point range. They extended the lead
to 18-8 on Walter Hodge's second 3-pointer with 12:20 remaining
before halftime.
Florida could have been up big at the break, but the undersized
Gators were no match for Patrick Patterson. The sophomore center
had 14 points and nine rebounds in the first half.
He took an eyebrow-raising 16 shots in the first 20 minutes,
most of them from point-blank range, but made only seven. Patterson
and Meeks scored 20 of the Kentucky's 22 points in the first half,
and the last basket was the most impressive.
Following Ray Shipman's reverse layup that put the Gators ahead
29-20 with about 8 seconds left in the half, Meeks pulled up from
long range and hit the front of the rim. Patterson caught the
rebound, and in the same motion, banked in a shot from the baseline
just before the buzzer.

FLORIDA 60, KENTUCKY 53
KENTUCKY (19-12)
Harris 6-8 2-5 14, Stevenson 2-4 0-0 4, Patterson 7-17 2-4 16,
Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Meeks 6-18 1-1 15, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Galloway 2-3
0-0 4, Harrellson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 5-10 53.
FLORIDA (22-9)
Werner 2-9 2-2 8, Parsons 0-3 2-2 2, Tyus 5-8 1-1 11, Hodge 7-12
1-2 18, Calathes 2-9 0-0 5, Shipman 2-4 0-0 4, McClanahan 0-0 0-0
0, Walker 2-5 4-6 10, Kadji 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 21-54 10-13 60.
Halftime-Florida 29-22. 3-Point Goals-Kentucky 2-11 (Meeks 2-9,
Galloway 0-1, Porter 0-1), Florida 8-21 (Hodge 3-5, Werner 2-4,
Walker 2-4, Calathes 1-4, Shipman 0-1, Parsons 0-3). Fouled
Out-None. Rebounds-Kentucky 39 (Patterson 13), Florida 28 (Werner
6). Assists-Kentucky 7 (Galloway 3), Florida 14 (Calathes 7). Total
Fouls-Kentucky 13, Florida 11. A-12,131. Assists-B


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