No. 3 Kentucky Holds Off Florida's Late Rally, Wins 74-66

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In Progress: Florida Going For Much-Needed Win Over No. 3 Kentucky

For more, check out our Kentucky blog, A Sea of Blue, and our Florida blog, Alligator Army.

Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe each scored 14 points, as third-ranked Kentucky held off Florida, 74-66, to complete a perfect season at Rupp Arena.

Patrick Patterson added 13 points and John Wall ended with 11 points and eight assists for the Wildcats (29-2, 14-2 SEC), who went 18-0 at home this season.

Kentucky, which had already won the regular season SEC title outright and will likely be a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, heads into the conference tourney on a two-game win streak.

Alex Tyus had 12 points to pace the Gators (20-11, 9-7), who have lost three in a row heading into the SEC Tournament, and might have to make a deep run to earn an at-large berth to the national tourney. Florida also got 11 points from both Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy.

Kentucky held a 49-37 lead a little more than three minutes into the second half, but the Gators got back in the contest with a 9-1 run. Chandler Parsons ended the stretch with a layup, trimming Florida's deficit to 50-46.

The Gators were within a possession multiple times down the stretch, and with 5:23 to go, Murphy's dunk had them within 62-60. But Florida went through a back-breaking dry spell, going more than three minutes without scoring.

In that span, Kentucky stretched its lead to 68-60, until a Vernon Macklin layup got the Gators going again with 1:43 left. Florida had a chance to slash into Kentucky's lead further after Boynton got a steal on the Wildcats' next possession, but on the ensuing fastbreak he was called for an offensive foul. Bledsoe then made two foul shots, and Kentucky sealed the win at the line.

The Wildcats held a small lead throughout the beginning of the first half, then used a 14-0 run to take control. Bledsoe's layup capped the rally with 5:20 left for a 34-16 lead, though Florida scored the final six points of the period to get within 41-31 at the break.

The Wildcats open their SEC Tournament on Friday against the winner of the South Carolina-Alabama contest the day before...Florida plays Auburn on Thursday...Darnell Dodson added 10 points for Kentucky, which shot 46.9 percent, including 8-of-18 from three-point range...Florida made just 12-of-21 free throws and 4-of-15 three-point tries.

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