You really couldn’t have written today’s story any better for Will Yeguete, Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather. They were honored with framed jerseys before their Senior Day game and cut down the nets after one of their best wins this season.
No. 1 Florida defeated No. 25 Kentucky 84-65, the Gators’ largest margin of victory in series history, on Senior Day in a sold-out O’Dome. The Gators concluded their regular season schedule with a perfect Southeastern Conference record at 18-0 (the first time that’s ever happened), 23 straight wins and 32 consecutive victories at home.
Florida (29-2, 18-0 SEC) was up 49-28 at halftime, which ties the most points Kentucky (22-9, 12-6 SEC) has given up in any half this season (the Wildcats allowed 49 points at North Carolina in December).
But things got a little rocky in the second half. Kentucky came out guns blazing and cut the Gator lead down to 53-47 with 12 minutes remaining. Head coach Billy Donovan called a much-needed timeout which turned out to set Florida right again. Wilbekin followed with a 3-pointer, and six points would mark the closest that Kentucky would get to Florida. The Gators built up their lead after that play, resulting in a blowout win over their biggest basketball rival.
Donovan called another timeout with 36.9 seconds left to sub out the seniors. They received a standing ovation.
As part of the signing class of 2010, Yeguete, Young, Wilbekin and Prather have won a total of 113 games together. If they can reach 117 wins, they’ll tie the school record that Walter Hodge currently holds.
Young led Florida with 18 points and seven rebounds. Prather followed with 15 points. Julius Randle was first for Kentucky with 16 points.
Florida is the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament and will next face the winner of eight-seed Missouri and nine-seed Texas A&M in Atlanta. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Friday, March 8.