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UF Men’s Basketball: Florida 71, Kentucky 67

The Gators went to Rupp Arena Saturday looking for just their 11th all-time win at Lexington. 

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY DENVER PARLER

Florida 71, Kentucky 67
Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

Records: Florida 13-6 (9-5 SEC), Kentucky 8-14 (7-8 SEC)

Box Score (PDF)
2020-21 Season Stats

Notable & Quotable

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  *   Florida improves to 9-5 in SEC action, pushing its winning streak to three after sweeping a pair of road games this week.
     *   The Gators also move into the #3 position in the conference standings with a week left in the regular season.
  *   This marks the first time in 23 years and the fifth time in series history that Florida and Kentucky have split the season series with the road team winning both games (1974, 1985, 1989, 1998).
  *   The Gators have won two of their last four trips to Rupp Arena. Today still marked just the 11th road win at Kentucky in UF history.
  *   Florida rallied from down 10, 26-16, midway through the first half, but bounced back and used a 22-9 run to take a brief lead and trailed by just one at halftime.
     *   This was Florida’s second time this season rallying from a double-digit deficit to win, previously coming back from 12 down vs. Army in the season opener.
  *   Tre Mann was lights out down the stretch, scoring 14 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, including the game-sealing free throws and 11 of the Gators’ final 20 points.
  *   Anthony Duruji posted all 10 of his points in the first half, helping the Gators weather UK’s fast start.
  *   Colin Castleton added 14 points and a career-high four assists.
  *   Florida held a 12.5% field goal shooting advantage, shooting .521 vs. Kentucky’s .396.
     *   The Florida defense held Kentucky to one field goal made over a 13-minute span in the first half, including one stretch of seven consecutive missed field goals.

Head Coach Mike White

On the fouls…
“We have addressed fouling defensively as much as anything this year. We struggled with it early and we thought early on it was because these guys weren’t used to playing as fast as we were playing and weren’t used to pressing as much as we were pressing. Now, we’re playing a little bit slower and we’re zone-pressing more, tempo-pressing more than man-to-man pressing and so, there’s really no excuse other than our discipline just has to be better. The decisions that we make have to be better. I thought we made a lot of really good decisions offensively for about 35 minutes. Defensively, I thought outside of the live-ball turnovers that led to transition points for them — which is an offensive issue of course – in addition, outside of fouling, I thought we were really good. We have to defensive rebound a little bit better, of course. The fouls continue to be an issue. My guys play really hard, but when you play really hard and you’re switching some defenses, you’re closing out to maybe a different guy than you’re responsible for a few seconds earlier. We have to understand how to guard that guy without fouling that guy.”

On getting a good road win under their belt with a young team…
“Any time you can win a close game, especially against a high-level team in the program, especially on the road, there’s a lot to take from that and learn from that. Really win or lose, you’re going to have opportunities to learn. In a close game where it was possession by possession, it was such a good college basketball game. Maybe we’ll be able to take it a little bit more firmly.”

Tre Mann

On what clicked on offense…
“We had a couple of turnovers in the end, but I feel those last two minutes, me and Tyree (Appleby) and whole team – but it started with me and Tyree – the whole team took care of the ball a little bit more. We had a little bit more composure. And yeah, that’s really it – we valued the ball. We took ‘A’ shots today. We took a lot of ‘A’ shots, we had a couple of ‘F’ shots, but it’s getting better every game. As long as we do that, we’ll have a good chance of winning every game.”

On showing resilience…
“It was something that we talked about before the game. Coach (White) was like, ‘They’re going to go on runs. They’re going to make some tough shots. We’re going to turn the ball over, but just stay in the moment.’ Just doing whatever we have to do to get the win. That just means we have to stay locked in. Coach said before the game, ‘When they go on a run, I want y’all’s face to look the same way it’s looking right now in the locker room.’ And I feel like the team did a good job at that. We kept our composure. It led to great stuff.”

Anthony Duruji

On his first half…
“The first half was good. I think we just stuck to the game plan. We knew they were going to double a lot on Colin (Castleton). I just try to keep my energy high and just do whatever I have to do to help the team and that’s what happened.”

On beating Kentucky…
“It feels good. It feels really, really good. Kentucky has been playing really good basketball lately. It’s always tough to get a road win so we’re really excited and we just want to keep this momentum going.”

On when they knew they were going to win..
“We were feeling pretty confident, but they’re still a very, very great team. We just have to keep sticking to the game plan to the finish. When you seal the deal, (I’m) thankful.”