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No. 6 Kentucky falls to Florida 83-73

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm •  Published: January 5, 2014
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell offered no excuses after his sixth-ranked Wildcats lost to Florida 83-73 Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.

"They just came in here and beat us today, simple as that," Mitchell said.

The Wildcats (13-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had won their previous six games against the Gators, but the past five were decided by seven points or less. Florida (12-3, 2-0) ended the streak and won its eighth-straight game while playing its first road contest since Dec. 4.

The Wildcats shot just 35 percent from the field overall. In the second half, they missed all five of their 3-point attempts after making six shots from long range in the first half.

"We weren't finishing anything inside the paint or outside the paint and that just comes from staying composed in a tough game like that, especially when Florida is playing at such a high pace and pushing ourselves to do things we weren't comfortable doing," Kentucky guard Kastine Evans said. "It was really a lack of composure in those last 13 minutes."

Florida (12-3, 2-0) trailed 70-69 with four minutes but outscored the Wildcats 14-3 the remainder of the game for the final margin. The Gators made 12 of 16 free throws in the last four minutes and Kentucky failed to muster a field goal in the last eight minutes.

"It's a fantastic win, not only to play and beat them, but beat them here," Florida coach Amanda Butler said. "It was very significant. It's a great opportunity for our team that we took advantage of. This is a team that works very hard every day and got what they deserved and took advantage of the chance they had this evening."

Kentucky got 40 points from its bench, led by Jennifer O'Neill, who led the Wildcats with 15 points. Samarie Walker added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Kentucky senior DeNesha Stallworth returned to the lineup for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 18. Stallworth had missed the previous five games and finished with four points in seven minutes.

O'Neill said the team's poor play down the stretch as the result of a "letdown and a lack of focus."

"We had a lot of unforced turnovers and poor shots," O'Neill said. "We had a letdown and let an opportunity go."

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