SEC Tournament 2012: Kentucky Wildcats Survive Scare Against Florida Gators

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent IMarch 10, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 10:  Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes to the basket against Erik Murphy #33 of the Florida Gators during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 10, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

In the third meeting this season between Kentucky and Florida, the Gators finally found their three-point stroke, going 10-of-20 from behind the arc.

But despite Florida's hot shooting and excellent defense throughout the contest, the Wildcats were able to pull out a 74-71 win to advance to the SEC Championship game on Sunday.

The Good

  •  After having a terrible game against LSU in the first round of the tournament, Marquis Teague had an excellent showing against a very talented Florida back court.  He went 6-of-9 from the field to score a total of 15 points, including two clutch free throws at the end of the game to help seal the deal.  He did have three turnovers (against five assists), but that's a bit more expected against Florida than it would be against LSU.
  • Teague also hit multiple clutch shots that helped keep Kentucky in the game when Florida looked like it was in control.  Respectfully, I'd like to point out that I said Teague would need to step up like this offensively for the Cats to do well in March... but you can just ignore my observation about putting Miller in the starting line up.
  • Anthony Davis was dominant again, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
  • Despite Florida's hot shooting and some brutal scoring runs, this young team never gave up, scrapping for rebounds and battling underneath the basket on every possession.


The Bad

  • So now we know what happens when a three-point shooting team gets hot against the Wildcats. Fortunately, the Cats themselves shot decently from the field (45 percent), if not from behind the arc (29 percent).  But if they have another 34-percent shooting performance like they did against West Virginia in the 2010 tournament, things could get very ugly.
  • The bench was awful.  Darius Miller scored zero points and Kyle Wiltjer scored only three (along with giving Casey Prather a guaranteed spot on the Sports Center Top 10 when he got posterized in the first half).
  • Terrence Jones scored 15 points, but he struggled a bit from the field (including many shots that were close to the basket), going 5-of-13.  He did, however, make all four of his free throws.


The Weird

  • Florida only shot two free throws, compared to 20 by Kentucky.
  • Once again, Anthony Davis hit a big three-point shot—this time at the end of the first half—to give the Wildcats a one-point lead.