GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)Oscar Tshiebwe scored 25 points, Jacob Toppin had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Kentucky beat Florida 82-74 on Wednesday night for its third straight victory.
Toppin closed a 15-4 run with a 3-pointer and fast-break dunk to give Kentucky a 74-63 lead with 3:43 left. But Florida scored the next nine points, including six free throws – the last by Kyle Lofton with 1:12 left.
Chris Livingston ended Kentucky’s nearly three-minute scoring drought on a three-point play with 49.1 seconds left. Florida missed a shot in the lane and Toppin sealed it with two free throws.
Antonio Reeves added 16 points and Livingston had 10 points and 15 rebounds for Kentucky (19-9, 10-5 SEC). Tshiebwe, who was 12 of 13 from the field, banked in a jumper in the first half to reach 1,000 career points – the 61st in program history to do so.
Tshiebwe scored nine of Kentucky’s opening 17 points and Toppin sank a wide open 3-pointer in transition to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 20-9. Florida took its first lead of the first half, 37-36, on Riley Kugel’s long 3-pointer with 17 seconds left before the break. The Gators closed the half on a 22-6 run over the final eight minutes after trailing by as many as 15 points.
Kugel made four 3-pointers and scored 24 points for Florida (14-14, 7-8), which has lost five of its last six games. Kowacie Reeves added 16 points. Florida star Colin Castleton was out due to a broken right hand.
The game was delayed with 13:47 left in the second half for an official review after Kentucky guard Cason Wallace was grabbed by fans sitting courtside after chasing down a loose ball on the sideline. The fans were removed from their courtside seats before play resumed tied at 50-all.
Kentucky returns home to play Saturday against Auburn.
Florida hits the road to play Vanderbilt on Saturday.
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