Kentucky visits Florida in SEC showdown

By: Joe Freda | Friday, February 4, 2011

The No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 23 Florida Gators have played some tight defense recently, with the ‘under’ going a combined 8-1-1 in each squad’s last five games.  Saturday night’s college hoops slate has the two Southeastern Conference rivals clashing at Florida’s O’Connell Center, where the Gators are 4-1 against the spread in their last five home matchups against Kentucky.

Kentucky had a two-game winning streak end with Tuesday’s 71-69 loss as a 6 ½-point road favorite against the Mississippi Rebels.  The Wildcats allowed Mississippi to connect 8-of-17 three-point buckets, including a game-clincher from Mississippi’s Chris Warren with three seconds remaining.

Wildcats forward Terrence Jones notched team-highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds.  The squad’s leading scorer (17.9 PPG) hit 8-of-11 free throws,
while adding four blocks.

Terrence JonesKentucky’s Doron Lamb logged 20 points and three assists off the bench.  The freshman guard hit 8-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.

The tight battle’s combined 140 points ducked below the ‘total’ of 144 ½.  Kentucky outrebounded the Rebels, 35-24, while recording a sizable 18 turnovers.

The Wildcats dropped to 5-6 ATS in their first 11 games away from home, with the ‘under’ moving to 7-2-2.  Jones and Co. have put up 71.6 PPG in that span.

Florida escaped with a 65-61 overtime win as a 4 ½-point home favorite in Tuesday’s matchup against the Vanderbilt Commodores.  The Gators went scoreless in the final 3:50 of regulation, allowing a 6-0 run from Vanderbilt to send the duel into extra minutes.

Gators forward Chandler Parsons logged 18 points and 11 rebounds, picking up his second double-double in three games.  The senior added all three of his squad’s steals.

Florida’s Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton finished with 15 points each.  Walker notched a team-high four assists, while Boynton drained 3-of-8 from three-point land.

The contest’s combined 126 points stayed south of the 140-point ‘total.’  Florida went a meager 15-for-26 at the foul line, while outrebounding the Commodores, 42-29.

The Gators slipped to 2-8 ATS in their first 10 home ‘board’ dates, with Billy Donovan’s crew notching 74 PPG in the last five games of that stretch.  The ‘over’ dipped to 5-4 in the span’s nine games that contained a ‘total.’

Florida is 5-2 ATS in its last seven meetings against the Wildcats, with the ‘over’ going 4-3.

The foes have not squared off since last March, when Kentucky picked up a 74-66 win as an 11-point home favorite.   The Wildcats hit a lofty 8-of-18 from beyond the arc, while being outrebounded, 36-31.  Walker and Boynton struggled for Florida, uniting to hit 8-of-29 from the field.

Florida and Kentucky will meet once more on the regular season schedule when the Wildcats host the Gators in three weeks (Feb. 26).

Saturday’s tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PT), with ESPN providing the national television coverage.

Florida will be idle for three days, visiting the South Carolina Gamecocks as part of Wednesday’s college hoops card.  Kentucky will be off for two days before Tuesday’s home game against the Tennessee Volunteers.

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