Wallace leads Wildcats past Gators
John Merifield • 2/4/2023 in Basketball
Kentucky freshman Cason Wallace made his mark in a nice win for the Wildcats.
Alex Fudge photo courtesy of Maddie Washburn/Florida athletics.
Kentucky (16-7, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) took care of business at home Saturday night with a 72- 67 victory over Florida in a sold-out Rupp Arena.
Cason Wallace led the way for the Wildcats with 20 points and took over down the stretch with ten of those points coming in the second half.
Jacob Toppin added a 17-point, 10 rebound double-double and CJ Fredrick tacked on 12 points.
Star Wildcat Oscar Tshiebwe struggled offensively with just four points on a grim 2-for-14 shooting evening, but contributed in other areas defensively and snagged 15 rebounds on the night before fouling out with less than two minutes to play.
Colin Castleton did all he could for the Gators (13-10, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), leading all scorers with 25 points with eight rebounds. It’s the sixth-straight game that the senior center has led the struggling Gators’ offense in scoring.
Florida battled back from an 11-point deficit at halftime thanks to the play of Castleton but failed to generate enough offense from other sources to complete the comeback.
Florida can’t repeat Tennessee success
After a big win Wednesday over No. 2 ranked Tennessee, Florida struggled to hold Kentucky to the same offensive output as the Volunteers.
Tennessee attempted 25 three-pointers against Florida on Wednesday, but converted only five. Florida’s defense held the Vols to just 27% shooting on the night, putting less pressure on their offense to score.
In tonight’s game, however, Kentucky’s interior offense proved too much for the Gators. They shot 5-11 from 3, and a pounding offense inside the arc was the difference maker.
Finding ways to win
With an off night for Tshiebwe, Kentucky continues to find other contributions to edge out close
contests. In their past few victories, it’s been Antonio Reeves helping carry most of the scoring load. However, Reeves scored just four points in 19 minutes of play.
With their combined top two scorers netting just 12 points, Kentucky fans should take the victory as a comforting sign that they can still win in such circumstances. The Wildcats still have talented scorers in Wallace and Toppin, and could rely on them more in the future.
More bad news for Florida
After a tough two-game stretch of Tennessee and Kentucky, the Gators unfortunately travel to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday to take on Alabama.
Alabama is undefeated in SEC play this season and will be one of the toughest matchups that Florida will
face this season.
Kentucky will host Arkansas for their next contest, and then travel to Georgia for their second match with the Bulldogs.