Florida junior guard Walter Clayton Jr He scored 23 points and made a career-high seven 3-pointers, including one to force overtime and another to give his team the lead on Wednesday night, as the Gators came back from behind to beat 10th-seeded Kentucky in a sold-out Rupp. Arena for their 12th road series win in program history. This is the fourth consecutive victory for Florida, but it was also achieved by the coach Golden Todd His first true road win and first first-quarter win of the season, as calculated by the NCAA evaluation tool. UF snapped a five-game losing skid in the series and won only the 12th time in 67 road games all-time in the series. Kentucky has won 11 of the previous 12 meetings, dating back to the 2019 season. Graduate transfer point guard Zion Bolin He scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and had seven assists with just two turnovers in 41 minutes. Therese Samuel He scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, recording his seventh double-double this season. Clayton finished on seven of his 14 attempts from the floor, and all but one of his attempts were from deep. He also hit two free throws 16 seconds before the end of extra time, putting his team ahead by seven seconds. UF never led by more than two — the game featured 29 lead changes and 15 ties — until overtime and actually trailed by four with less than 20 seconds to play in regulation before staging a potential comeback for the season. UK Center 7 feet Oguna Onyinso (13 points, 16 rebounds, 8 blocks) converted a missed, late 3-pointer into a backhander that put the Wildcats up 83-79 with 40 seconds left. Samuel did the same with a UF end miss with 15.7 seconds left. Florida keeper fouled Rob Dillingham (20 points), which put him at the finish line 13.5 seconds before the end. Dillingham hit the first, but rebounded the second, with the Gators grabbing the rebound. In UF's half-court, and with UK opting not to foul, Poulin drove the paint and found Clayton on the left wing. He faked his head Red Shepherd He hit a three-pointer with three seconds left in the game. In overtime, UK led 87-86 with 1:40 remaining when Clayton ripped down his seventh 3 for a lead the Gators never gave up. Florida shot 41 percent for the game, but went 12-for-28 from the three-point line (43 percent). The Gators outscored the Cats on the glass 50-48 and 17-15 on the offensive end. Kentucky shot 45 percent, 10 of 26 from long range (38.5 percent). Both teams turned it over to just nine teams. UF's big advantage was at the free throw line, where the Gators went 18-for-22, including eight-of-nine in overtime, compared to 11-of-17 for the Cats. UF is now shooting 79.6 percent from the line in SEC play. Kentucky is led by Sheppard, the impressive freshman who scored 24 points and played all 45 minutes in just his second start. Fifth year guard Antonio Reeves He had 19 points. The Gators improved to 3-0 in overtime this season, adding to wins over Georgia and Michigan.
What does it mean
The biggest win of the Golden's two seasons would be the Golden Star's first-quarter win in their postseason resume. It's only the third first-quarter win in 22 attempts under Golden, but it's an important win at this juncture in the season, as it keeps UF's winning streak going, moves the Gators into a tie for fifth in the SEC standings and provides momentum. Heading in as the league roster reaches the halfway mark this weekend.
In the spotlight
Clayton entered the game shooting 34.9 percent from the 3-point line, below his career average of just under 40. That number improved on Wednesday. All his shots were huge due to the compact nature of the game.
The win was UF's first against a Top 10 opponent on the road since a win over No. 7 Mississippi State on January 7, 2003.
Florida (15-6, 5-3) will return on the road Saturday to face Texas A&M (12-8, 3-4), which is coming off a midweek upset after losing at home to Ole Miss 71-68 last weekend. The Aggies have beaten the Gators four straight times by a combined eight points, with each game coming down to the final possession. Kentucky (15-5, 5-3) takes on No. 5 Tennessee at home on Saturday.
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