SEC Tournament Final: Florida 61, Kentucky 60

Rob Foldy

The Gators barely held on and defeated Kentucky to secure the SEC Tournament championship.

The game was very much in doubt to the end, but Florida barely held on and defeated Kentucky 61-60 to win the SEC Tournament championship.

For the first time in its three games in Atlanta, the Gators finally got out to a good start. They didn't trail a minute of it, led by double digits for the final six minutes of the first half, and went into intermission with a 10-point lead. They maintained that lead for the first nine minutes of the second half, but Kentucky was not done. From the 10:48 mark, the Cats went on a 14-0 run to pull within one. A Michael Frazier triple stopped the bleeding for Florida, but the game would be tight the rest of the way.

Kentucky had a number of chances late to take this game, but it wasn't able. Andrew Harrison missed a runner by the basket with 33 seconds to go, and Dorian Finney-Smith corralled the rebound. Scottie Wilbekin would give the Wildcats a gift by missing the front end of his one-and-one, but Finney-Smith got another board cleaning that up. He would then miss his one-and-one front end too, giving UK one more chance down by one. Coming out of a timeout with 14 seconds to go, UK ran a play where Andrew Harrison would drive and kick to James Young. Young received the pass and darted into the lane to try to go to the hoop, but he slipped and fell. Time expired before anyone could gain possession of the ball, and that was it.

Andrew Harrison led all scorers with 16, and this time, it was Willie Cauley-Stein with the double-double for the Cats with 10 points and 11 boards. Florida's defense held Julius Randle to just four points, and he didn't even touch the ball on UK's final two possessions. Frazier and Patric Young shared the scoring lead for Florida with 14 each, while Wilbekin and Casey Prather each had 11.

This win gives Florida its fourth SEC Tournament championship after it won three straight from 2005-07. It also means the Gators will almost certainly end this season having never lost to a fellow SEC team. It's one of the more impressive runs in conference history. Sure, the league may be down, but Florida could have fallen many times. It easily could have lost yesterday or today, in fact.

Instead, the Gators are a perfect 21-0 against the SEC. Wow.

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