It came down to the absolute final seconds, but the Florida Gators are the 2014 SEC tournament champions.
The No 1. Gators (32-2, 18-0 SEC) saw a 15-point lead evaporate in the second half, and had to hold on—literally—to secure a 61-60 victory over the hard-charging Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
With the victory, Florida capped off a perfect 21-0 mark against SEC competition this season, and likely secured the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament with their 26th consecutive victory.
The Gators led the game from wire-to-wire, but it got very dicey in the closing seconds, and they were extremely fortunate to walk off the court with the SEC Championship, their first since 2007.
That team went on to win the national championship—their second in a row—and Billy Donovan's team will head into this year's tournament as one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Arlington.
For Kentucky (24-10, 12-6 SEC) this game will feel very bittersweet. They never led, but propelled by a 14-0 run midway through the second half, had the pro-Wildcats crowd rocking and had a chance to upset the heavily favored Gators.
With possession, down by one and with 14 ticks remaining on the clock, the Wildcats failed to get a shot off. James Young slipped while driving the lane, and players from both teams scrambled for the loose ball as time expired.
But even in defeat, John Calipari's team showed they are ready to compete with the elite teams in the nation, and nobody will be happy to see them in their region later on Sunday when the brackets are announced.
The Gators were led by Patric Young and Michael Frazier II with 14 points each.
Kentucky was led by Aaron Harrison with 16 points, including seven during their big second-half run that closed the gap.
Julius Randle was a huge disappointment for the Wildcats. He had just four points and seven rebounds on 1-of-7 shooting from the field.