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Kentucky had plenty of mistakes against the Florida Gators which ultimately cost them the game. Further, they once again went on a long scoring drought to let a first half lead slip away. But their defense in particular left Coach Cal encouraged by his team’s performance. They held a high powered Florida offense to just 20% shooting from deep. UK managed to grab a lead with five minutes to play but were unable to get the win despite a valiant effort under a minute to play. Let’s take a look at some game photos courtesy of KSR photographer, Dr. Michael Huang:
This bucket by P.J. Washington was a big time move when his team needed a bucket late in the game. Most would say he probably deserved a chance to tie the game up with under 10 seconds to play as well. Washington finished the game with six points and seven rebounds. The 6’7 forward was one of five players for Kentucky with at least six rebounds. UK finished the game holding a 49-38 margin on the glass.
After seeing his first game action on the road against South Carolina, Jarred Vanderbilt made his home debut against Florida. We saw the type of energy, passing, and rebounding he can bring to the table against the Gamecocks. Against the Gators, we saw him picking up the opposing team’s ball handler. He finished the game with six rebounds. As he continues to get in better game shape, his minutes no doubt will increase. His toughness and rebounding in addition to the added depth he brings are much needed for this team.
Sacha Killeya-Jones and Wenyen Gabriel are proving to be terrific energy guys for this Kentucky team. SKJ provides big time offensive rebounds every game. Against Florida, he grabbed two offensive rebounds and scored seven points.
While Wenyen Gabriel’s efforts don’t always show up in the box score, it was a different story against the Gators. During one stretch, the sophomore scored seven straight points, all coming inside the paint. One basket he scored while being fouled. He also hit a huge three late in the game. Gabriel finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Sticking with the UK big guys, Coach Cal likes the improvement he is seeing out of Nick Richards. Against Florida, he provided a physical presence with his game-high nine rebounds. He also scored eight points and blocked two shots.
Kentucky has no choice but to get back to work and find a way to close out some of these games. Now that they are getting healthy, there is plenty of time for this team to put it all together. But, it’s not going to be easy. After Mississippi State visits Rupp on Tuesday, a road trip looms to face a top five West Virginia team in a hostile environment. For now check out our complete game photos on KSR’s Facebook page: