Cason Wallace, Kentucky hold off Florida’s comeback bid

Cason Wallace scored a team-high 20 points Saturday night as Kentucky made it six wins in seven games with a 72-67 Southeastern Conference win over Florida in Lexington, Ky.

Wallace was 7 of 10 from the field for the Wildcats (16-7, 7-3 SEC), helping them make up for a rare off-night offensively from forward Oscar Tshiebwe. He made just 2 of 14 shots from the field and finished with four points, 12 below his average, before fouling out. He added 15 rebounds.

But Wallace, Jacob Toppin (17 points, 10 boards) and CJ Fredrick (12 points) took up the scoring slack. Wallace made both ends of a one-and-one with 13 seconds left that put the Gators away.

Colin Castleton starred in defeat for Florida (13-10, 6-4) with a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Will Richard and Kyle Lofton each chipped in 13 points, but the Gators couldn’t overcome 7 of 26 shooting in the first half.

Kentucky never trailed, although Florida got within 70-67 with 38 seconds remaining when Myreon Jones drilled a 3-pointer.

The Gators had a chance to tie after a missed 1-and-1 by Toppin, but Jones’ fallaway 3-pointer from the right wing didn’t come close, and Wallace sealed the outcome moments later.

Kentucky set the night’s tone right away on the defensive end. Florida’s only bucket in the first 5:56 was a layup on a pretty post move by Castleton, but a better indicator of how it went came when the Wildcats doubled him on one possession and forced him to walk before throwing a wild pass out of bounds.

While the Gators kept Tshiebwe in check, they had trouble with his teammates. Fredrick converted a 3-point play in transition at the 7:48 mark, surviving a collision with a courtside TV cameraman, for a 20-9 advantage.

Florida pulled within 26-22 with 2:55 left when Lofton penetrated for a layup, but Kentucky regained control with the half’s final seven points. Fredrick swished a 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds to make it 33-22 at the break.

–Field Level Media