Florida 61, Kentucky 60: Gators hold on to complete unbeaten SEC run

Kevin C. Cox

Florida nearly let go in this, its very last SEC game of 2014. But these Gators, in their most important moment, held on.

It took the dirty work for Florida to win this one, this 61-60 triumph over Kentucky in the third of an three-game series against the Wildcats that Florida had already won the first and second games of in Lexington and Gainesville.

Florida had its 16-point lead, had its momentum, had its shots falling. It had the consistent offense from Patric Young after the scoring spurts from Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, and Michael Frazier II. It had its foe, these wildly talented, finally fierce Kentucky Wildcats, throwing up bad shots and committing turnovers. And then it all changed, as Kentucky put together a 14-0 run that shaved Florida's lead to a single point.

Florida punched back with a 5-0 run of its own, then got a Young layup in the middle of a 7-2 Kentucky run that allowed it to hold the lead. And then the Gators went dry, and would not score again. Wilbekin missed the front end of a one-and-one; Dorian Finney-Smith missed the front end of another one-and-one after grabbing a crucial offensive rebound.

It came down to defense, to one possession for these unsung, unheralded, unbelievable Gators against the ballyhooed, brilliant Wildcats. It came down to Wilbekin guarding Andrew Harrison, future NBA point guard, and Prather guarding James Young, future NBA shooting guard.

Harrison dribbled into the lane and dished to Young. Young slipped, and lost the ball. Wilbekin and Prather both dove to the floor.

The clock expired.

And with it, Florida won its 21st game against SEC teams this year, the most any SEC team has ever won. Florida won its 26th straight game, adding to its longest winning streak ever. Florida kept its unbeaten record against SEC teams, the only one any SEC team has ever had since the first SEC Tournament.

Florida held on for this win, and now gets to hold onto another trophy, awarded for the school's first SEC Tournament title since 2007.

Florida may grab another trophy before this year is over.

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