- Wednesday, March 2 1994 -
Florida - 77 (Head Coach: Lon Kruger) - [Ranked 19th by AP]
Kentucky - 80 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 7th by AP]
Halftime Score: Florida 44, Kentucky 34
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|Georgia 80 - 59|||||South Carolina 74 - 75|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 3 No. 26. (All Rights Reserved)
Wildcats Gobble a Gang of Gangly Gators:
For the sixth time this season Kentucky has made a major comeback against a team which led at the half. UK beat Florida last Wednesday night 80-77, and in doing so, secured the sole top spot in the SEC East.
While the comeback was not quite as impressive as the win against LSU, it came close. Florida essentially couldn't miss early - they were up 6-0 before the Wildcats scored (on a Rhodes 3 pointer). But right after Kentucky got on the board, they hit another 3 and 2 (by Cross and Hill) to go up 11-3. Everything the Gators put up went in, while UK was suffering from turnovers, bad passes, and misses of good shots. Shots by Hill and Thompson put the Gators up 15-3 before Pitino called a timeout, and replaced his starters with 5 different bodies. Martinez afterwards got a 3, but Florida then zoomed to 20-6 with 14 minutes left in the half. Florida hit 8 of their first 9 field goals (including every 3 they took) and Kentucky began with miserable 2-13 shooting.
Kuisma and Brown combined to put UF up 25-10. Delk scored on a 15 footer, but the Gators surged out to 29-12 on goals by Hill and Cross. Hill was basically unstoppable all night - no Wildcat could match him physically, and if he caught the ball down low, it almost always went in or he was fouled. Delk made a 3 to close to within 29-15, and was later slightly jostled when taking a shot down low but no call was made. Florida took the rebound and went inside to Williams, who was fouled on a very similar play by Martinez. Pitino, who had been working the refs hard all night, lost his cool at that point and was hit with his first technical foul in 2 years. Florida could only hit 2 of the ensuing 4 FTs, but it gave them their biggest lead of the night, 33-14, with 7 minutes remaining. The Gators had made 13 of their first 16 shots from the floor at this point.
UK went on a mini-run with a McCarty 3, and a 2 and 3 by Delk sandwiched around Dyrkolbotn FTs and a Thompson 12 footer over Ford, to cut it to 35-19. Later Delk's 3 and an inside shot by Riddick cut it to 37-24. A quick Kentucky steal and two Prickett layups closed it to 37-28. A pair of Anderson shots moved the Gators out to 41-28, but a Riddick jump hook and a long Ford 3 made it 41-33. Chris Harrison entered the game for Ford, made an immediate turnover, and was quickly taken out. Some final FTs by Williams and Delk made it 44-34 at the half. Florida had shot 63% from the field compared to 37% for the Cats in the half.
Prickett started the second half in place of McCarty. UK's increased pressure and trapping took its toll on Florida, just as the Cats had done so many times in the past, and within a few minutes the gap had been closed to 44-41 (on a Prickett putback, a Ford 3, and a twisting underneath shot by Prickett). Brown hit a 3 and Cross got 2 FTs to pull out again 49-41, but Rhodes began to get hot, and made a dunk, some free throws, and steals to come within 53-46. Both teams grew cold for a few minutes, and more and more turnovers occurred, although mostly by Florida. Rhodes finally hit some FTs, Hill matched them for Florida, then Prickett made a jump hook to get within 55-50. A nice Rhodes steal and layup made it closer, then Delk got another steal and Prickett got a layup to come to 55-54 Florida.
Thompson and Hill got some baskets, but Epps was fouled while making a 3 (couldn't hit his FT). Florida went out 61-57 with 8.5 minutes remaining. DeClerq shortly later fouled out, easing Kentucky's inside problems somewhat. A FT by Rhodes, a brilliant Rhodes to Delk pass underneath for a basket, and a couple more Rhodes FTs cut the Gator lead to 63-62. Hill made a layup, there were 2 more Rhodes FTs (no one could stop his cutting and slashing), and Hill made a single FT to make it 66-64 Florida with 5 minutes left. Travis Ford hit a big 3 to give Kentucky its first lead at 67-66, and UK never trailed thereafter.
A Delk steal and a Rhodes slash made it 69-66 UK. Hill hit some FTs, Ford nailed another 3, Kuisma hit some FTs, then Delk hit a 12 footer to boost the Cats to 74-70. Delk later hit a 17 footer to give UK its biggest lead of the night at 76-70. Kuisma hit more FTs, Brassow made 1, then Brown was senselessly fouled on a 3 point shot - and he hit all 3 to come to 77-75. Martinez made 2 critical FTs near the end to put UK up 79-75. Thompson laid in a Cross airballed 3 to make it 79-77 with 6 seconds left. Rhodes was fouled and made 1 of 2 FTs. Florida got off a final desperation 40 foot shot which went over the backboard, and the game ended at 80-77 UK. In good news for the Cats, Travis Ford played and appeared to have no difficulties after his recent hamstring pull. Jared Prickett said afterwards, "I guess after coming back from being 31 down against LSU, you never feel like you're out of the game. At no point did I think we were out of this game."
Anthony Epps and Rodrick Rhodes double-team a Florida player
Rodrick Rhodes locks down his opponent