LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)Freshman Cason Wallace scored 20 points, Jacob Toppin had a double-double and Kentucky never trailed in a 72-67 victory over Florida on Saturday night.
Wallace made 7 of 10 shots from the floor with a 3-pointer and all five of his free throws for the Wildcats (16-7, 7-3 SEC). Toppin scored 17 on 8-of-16 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. CJ Fredrick hit three 3-pointers and scored 12. Oscar Tshiebwe totaled four points and 15 rebounds before fouling out. He made only 2 of 14 shots.
Colin Castleton finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three blocks for the Gators (13-10, 6-4), who had won 6 of 7 and were coming off a 67-54 win over No. 2 Tennessee last time out. Kyle Lofton and Will Richard scored 13 points apiece. Richard added six rebounds.
Toppin and Fredrick scored nine points apiece and Wallace added eight as the trio accounted for all but seven points in Kentucky’s 33-22 lead at the half. The Wildcats scored the first five points of the game and pushed their lead to 20-9 on Fredrick’s three-point play at the 7:48 mark. The Gators cut their deficit to eight, but Fredrick sank a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left for the halftime margin.
Florida closed within 37-33 on a Lofton 3-pointer at the 15:44 mark, but Kentucky answered with a 6-0 run. Wallace had a three-point play to push the Wildcats’ lead to 59-45 with 8:19 remaining.
Castleton drew a fifth foul on Tshiebwe with 1:38 to go and completed the three-point play to get the Gators within 66-62. Wallace and Castleton traded baskets before Daimion Collins hit two free throws to give Kentucky a 70-64 lead with 51 seconds remaining. Myreon Jones hit a 3-pointer to get the Gators within three, but he missed his next try and Wallace made two foul shots to wrap up the win for the Wildcats.
Wildcats coach John Calipari improved to 22-9 against Florida in a series Kentucky leads 108-41 – including a 54-11 mark at home.
Florida first-year coach Todd Golden faced Kentucky for the first time as a head coach. Golden spent three years at San Francisco before taking the Gators job.
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