Kentucky vs Florida

Time: 09:00 P.M. EST

Kentucky's road struggles have dropped it into third place in the SEC East and getting back into the race won't be easy.

The 10th-ranked Wildcats have an opportunity to regain some momentum Saturday night when they visit division-leading Florida in a key league matchup.

Although Florida (17-5, 6-2) has bounced in and out of the AP poll, it is leading the East Division and would likely move back into the rankings with a victory this weekend.

However, Kentucky (16-5, 4-3) has something to prove after a heartbreaking 71-69 loss at Mississippi on Tuesday. The Rebels hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining and the Wildcats missed a running 3-pointer at the buzzer.

It was the third conference road loss and third time this season Kentucky has lost by two points.

Terrence Jones had 22 points and 12 rebounds while Doron Lamb scored 20. However, Darius Miller, who scored in double figures the previous five games, was held to three points - all in the first half.

With a short bench, Kentucky needs the whole team playing at a high level, coach John Calipari said. The Wildcats essentially use a six-man rotation with two reserves playing minimal minutes Tuesday.

"We don't have enough room for error," he said. "If two guys really play poorly ... we're trying to play with 3 1/2 guys. So, guys have a responsibility to each other."

Kentucky averages 75.3 points in conference home games compared to 68 on the road.

Avoiding back-to-back losses won't be easy with Florida coming off a 65-61 overtime win over No. 23 Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

The Gators have won four of five with their last two wins coming in overtime. They shot 36.7 percent Tuesday, but outrebounded the Commodores 47-34 and had 15 offensive boards.

Chandler Parsons had 18 points and 11 rebounds while Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker each scored 15. Boynton gave Florida a 63-61 lead with a 3-pointer and then held John Jenkins - the conference's leading scorer - to an airball at the other end.

"Two years ago, in a game like this, I think we would have had a hard time winning the game," coach Billy Donovan told the Gators' official website. "We're getting better in these types of games. I think our guys are growing up, in particular our older guys."

Donovan's club has been impressive on defense recently, holding opponents to 38.7 percent from the field the last five games while outrebounding them by an average of eight boards.

Boynton has been key to that effort. He's defended several of the conference's top scorers the last few games, and on Saturday will likely will be matched up with Brandon Knight, second on the Wildcats with 17.2 points.

Knight and Boynton attended rival Florida high schools and the two were teammates while winning consecutive Amateur Athletic Union championships.

"He's always been a smart player," Boynton said of Knight. "When he's on the court, he makes the right plays. When he's open, he takes the shot or he tries to get to the rim. And when he sees the open man, he's a great passer."

Kentucky has won four of five against Florida, including an 89-77 victory at Gainesville last season, which snapped a five-game road losing streak in the series.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Game Forecast
0%Chance of Winning0%
0-0vs Top 250-0
vs Non-NCAA
vs Common Opponents
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TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Texas A&M0-09-16
Miss. State0-08-152
S. Carolina0-08-241
Ole Miss0-05-4133

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Key Players
30.0 Min. Per Game 32.4 Erving<br>Walker
17.9 Pts. Per Game 14.5
1.6 Ast. Per Game 3.3
9.0 Reb. Per Game 3.2
45.9 Field Goal % 42.5
31.4 Three Point % 38.3
65.4 Free Throw % 75.0
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