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No. 6 Kentucky pulls away from Florida 66-57 in SEC finale

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Free throws seemed destined to be the saving grace for No. 6 Kentucky before it finally strung baskets together.

Tyler Herro made his share of both, and that combination was important in putting away Florida.

Herro scored 16 points and led a big second-half run that helped the Wildcats overcome the Gators 66-57 on Saturday.

The Wildcats (26-5, 15-3 Southeastern Conference) went back and forth with the Gators (17-14, 9-9) early in the second half and trailed 40-39 with 13:46 remaining.

Herro had six points during a 15-2 spree, hitting a couple of shots in the lane and adding two free throws, to give Kentucky a 54-42 advantage. The Wildcats capped the seven-minute burst by scoring 10 straight points.

''I saw some lanes going to the basket,'' said Herro, who made 6 of 11 from the field.

Herro hit all four free throws as Kentucky made 26 of 32 from the line. Florida finished 6 for 11 on free throws.

''Me and PJ (Washington) ran a little two-man game when they went man to man. We had to take whatever they gave us, but once they went man I felt like I had some lanes to drive,'' Herro said.

Added coach John Calipari, ''Tyler made some unbelievable plays. We made some shots and again, we're a good free throw shooting team.''

Washington added 15 points as Kentucky handed Florida its third consecutive loss. The Wildcats finished tied for second with Tennessee but clinched the No. 2 seed and a double bye for next week's SEC Tournament in Nashville.

Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson each added 14 points, and Washington's nine rebounds helped the Wildcats dominate the boards 39-23.

Kevarrius Hayes had 19 points and Jalen Hudson 13 for Florida, which overcame a nine-point first half deficit to lead 31-30 at the break. A 5:12 drought in the second half did in the Gators, who also made just 3 of 18 from long range.

''We just really struggled from the 3 and didn't convert again at the foul line,'' Florida coach Mike White said.

SENIOR MOMENT

Reid Travis missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained right knee but was honored before his home finale with reserve guard Jonny David, who started and played the first couple of minutes.

Though Calipari wouldn't speculate about Travis' availability for the SEC Tournament, he didn't sound worried.

''Here's what good, it's not an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),'' the coach said. ''He sprained his knee. He's going to be fine.''

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Kentucky took a step toward getting back in the Top 5 with the win that took more work than expected.

BIG PICTURE

Florida: The Gators held their own for a while in the second of consecutive games against Top 10 schools but couldn't finish with a win. They committed just six turnovers, outscored Kentucky 32-22 in the paint and appeared to make the Wildcats play at their pace for a good stretch. They then went cold and weren't able to recover in shooting 44 percent.

Kentucky: The Wildcats got through the home stretch 4-1 without Travis. But it required a wakeup call they survived by getting hot midway through the second half. They shot just 41 percent, but those made shots were huge in clinching the game and second place.

''We knew we had to pick up the intensity and make a statement coming into the second half,'' Johnson said. ''We need to get some separation.''

UP NEXT

Florida will play Arkansas on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville.

Kentucky plays the Mississippi-Alabama winner in Friday's quarterfinal at the SEC Tournament in Nashville.

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Key Players
A. Nembhard
2 G
T. Herro
14 G
31.7 Min. Per Game 31.7
14.1 Pts. Per Game 14.1
2.3 Ast. Per Game 2.3
4.5 Reb. Per Game 4.5
41.5 Field Goal % 46.5
34.9 Three Point % 36.8
77.3 Free Throw % 93.9
+ 2 Jalen Hudson made driving layup 6.0
+ 1 Tyler Herro made 2nd of 2 free throws 17.0
+ 1 Tyler Herro made 1st of 2 free throws 17.0
  Personal foul on Andrew Nembhard 17.0
+ 2 Kevarrius Hayes made layup, assist by Andrew Nembhard 16.0
+ 1 Immanuel Quickley made 2nd of 2 free throws 23.0
+ 1 Immanuel Quickley made 1st of 2 free throws 23.0
  Personal foul on Noah Locke 23.0
+ 2 Jalen Hudson made layup, assist by Andrew Nembhard 23.0
+ 1 Immanuel Quickley made 2nd of 2 free throws 29.0
+ 1 Immanuel Quickley made 1st of 2 free throws 29.0
Team Stats
Points 57 66
Field Goals 24-54 (44.4%) 19-46 (41.3%)
3-Pointers 3-18 (16.7%) 2-7 (28.6%)
Free Throws 6-11 (54.5%) 26-32 (81.3%)
Total Rebounds 23 39
Offensive 5 10
Defensive 17 27
Team 1 2
Assists 14 9
Steals 5 3
Blocks 2 2
Turnovers 5 10
Fouls 21 17
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST
16 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo Florida 17-14 312657
home team logo 6 Kentucky 26-5 303666
Team Stats
away team logo Florida 17-14 67.8 PPG 36.3 RPG 12.1 APG
home team logo 6 Kentucky 26-5 75.8 PPG 40.9 RPG 13.5 APG
Key Players
13
K. Hayes C 8.3 PPG 6.3 RPG 0.7 APG 67.3 FG%
00
T. Herro G PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
K. Hayes C 19 PTS 5 REB 2 AST
T. Herro G 16 PTS 6 REB 2 AST
44.4 FG% 41.3
16.7 3PT FG% 28.6
54.5 FT% 81.3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
K. Hayes 19 5 2 8/9 0/0 3/4 3 32 0 2 0 2 3
J. Hudson 13 6 1 6/16 0/5 1/2 3 33 1 0 1 2 4
N. Locke 5 1 0 2/4 1/3 0/0 1 24 1 0 0 0 1
A. Nembhard 3 0 8 1/8 0/2 1/2 4 37 0 0 1 0 0
K. Johnson 2 5 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 5 11 0 0 0 1 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
K. Hayes 19 5 2 8/9 0/0 3/4 3 32 0 2 0 2 3
J. Hudson 13 6 1 6/16 0/5 1/2 3 33 1 0 1 2 4
N. Locke 5 1 0 2/4 1/3 0/0 1 24 1 0 0 0 1
A. Nembhard 3 0 8 1/8 0/2 1/2 4 37 0 0 1 0 0
K. Johnson 2 5 0 1/2 0/0 0/0 5 11 0 0 0 1 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Okauru 6 1 1 2/4 1/3 1/2 1 18 1 0 0 0 1
I. Stokes 6 1 1 3/5 0/1 0/1 2 13 1 0 0 0 1
K. Allen 3 3 1 1/6 1/4 0/0 0 24 1 0 2 0 3
D. Bassett 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 8 0 0 1 0 0
K. Stone - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Gak - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Ballard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Fava - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Krause - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 57 22 14 24/54 3/18 6/11 21 200 5 2 5 5 17
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Herro 16 6 2 6/11 0/1 4/4 1 38 1 0 0 0 6
P. Washington 15 9 1 6/14 0/2 3/3 2 38 0 0 4 3 6
A. Hagans 14 3 2 3/6 1/2 7/9 3 30 1 0 3 0 3
J. David 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
E. Montgomery 0 7 0 0/2 0/0 0/1 4 28 1 1 0 4 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Herro 16 6 2 6/11 0/1 4/4 1 38 1 0 0 0 6
P. Washington 15 9 1 6/14 0/2 3/3 2 38 0 0 4 3 6
A. Hagans 14 3 2 3/6 1/2 7/9 3 30 1 0 3 0 3
J. David 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
E. Montgomery 0 7 0 0/2 0/0 0/1 4 28 1 1 0 4 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
K. Johnson 14 7 3 4/8 1/1 5/7 1 34 0 1 2 1 6
I. Quickley 4 3 1 0/3 0/0 4/4 3 20 0 0 1 0 3
N. Richards 3 2 0 0/1 0/0 3/4 1 9 0 0 0 2 0
J. Baker Jr. 0 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0
R. Travis - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Calipari - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Payne - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 66 37 9 19/46 2/7 26/32 17 200 3 2 10 10 27