Kansas vs. Florida final score: Gators' defense stellar in 67-61 win

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Jayhawks mounted a valiant comeback but it wasn't enough to overcome an early deficit.

The growing pains continued for the young Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night, as Bill Self's team couldn't overcome a balanced scoring attack and zone defense from the Florida Gators. Florida held off a furious Jayhawks comeback at the end to earn a 67-61 victory in Gainesville.

Kansas jumped out to an early 10-3 lead, but it wasn't enough of a cushion. Florida went on a 21-0 run to permanently swing the momentum in its favor, employing a zone defense that confounded the Jayhawks.

Kansas battled back throughout the second half, but waited until the waning minutes of the game for extra dramatics. At the beginning of the second half, the Jayhawks were able to cut it to a single-digit deficit. Yet, it seemed that every time they got close to making the final push, Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin was there to push them back down to Earth. Wilbekin finished with a team-high 18 points.

In the final minutes of the game, Andrew Wiggins took over for the Jayhawks as the two teams traded points. Wiggins hit three consecutive three-pointers to bring Kansas to within five, but it was too little too late. Florida hit its free throws down the stretch to notch its 21st straight home win and send Kansas to its second-straight loss.

Kansas finished the game with 24 turnovers, at times looking absolutely lost against the Gators' defense. Even Wiggins, whose final line of 26 points and 11 rebounds looked great, had four turnovers on the night. The Gators' defense helped out the offense on a night when it struggled from the floor. The Gators finished shooting 37 percent from the floor and were 20-of-34 from the free throw line.

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