No. 1 Kentucky tops No. 8 Florida 78-58
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|men's BASkEtBALL RESULTS
|Kentucky 78, Florida 58
|Alabama 68, Auburn 50
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 13 points and 13 rebounds and top-ranked Kentucky easily passed its toughest Southeastern Conference test to date with a 78-58 victory over No. 8 Florida on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (24-1, 10-0) have won 49 straight at home and matched their best start in league play since 2005 thanks to three freshmen starters who have jelled into a formidable defense to go along with their high-powered offense
Doron Lamb scored 18 points and freshman Anthony Davis added 16 for Kentucky, which won its 16th straight overall and ended Florida's run of seven consecutive wins.
Kenny Boynton led the Gators (19-5, 7-2) with 18 points, but the team with the nation's most 3-pointers this season went 6 of 27 from behind the arc and shot 34.9 percent overall from the field.
One of the last remaining questions for a team that continues to believe it can play for a national championship in just under two months had been the quality of opponents the Wildcats had faced after not meeting a ranked team in over a month.
Kentucky answered it emphatically.
Freshman point guard Marquis Teague finished with 12 points and 10 assists as the Wildcats attacked on both ends.
Florida scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut it to 38-30, but Kentucky answered with an 11-0 run sparked when Teague and Darius Miller hit consecutive 3-pointers.
Florida freshman Bradley Beal then drove to the hoop only to have Davis reject his shot and Davis swatted another from Patric Young on the possession for good measure.
Miller added another jumper and Kidd-Gilchrist spun, hit a basket and was fouled. He completed the three-point play that made it 49-30 as Florida missed eight straight shots before snapping the skid.
The lead reached 20 points when Lamb buried a 3 from the left corner with 11:27 left and by as many as 21 late.
Beal scored 14 points and Young added 12 for the Gators.
Florida insisted before the game all the pressure was on the Wildcats, but this group that starts three freshmen and two sophomores doesn't appear to get rattled easily. Their only blemish is a one-point loss in December at Indiana.
Fans received a panoramic black-and-white poster of Davis stretching his arms out over a span of more than eight basketballs. When he puts his arms up, he's been almost unstoppable in leading the nation's top-ranked defense by field goal percentage.
Davis blocked four shots, leading the country with 120 and continuing to climb the SEC's season list after already surpassing Shaquille O'Neal's freshman conference record set 22 years ago.
Kentucky's lone problem was a slow start. The Wildcats fell behind 6-0 and missed their first seven shots before scoring nine straight points.
The game featured frenetic up-and-down play early. In one sequence, Mike Rosario went behind his back to find Young for a dunk, but Kidd-Gilchrist answered when he floated an alley-oop pass to Davis for a slam over Erik Murphy.
It was an electric -- and sometimes bizarre -- atmosphere among the 24,389 fans at Rupp Arena. Former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl sat courtside signing a few autographs, and at one point during free throws by Beal in the first half a fan in the student section tried to distract him by wearing nothing but a blue Speedo.
It didn't work.
Beal made the free throws, but Florida went more than 6 minutes without a field goal. Teague's 3-pointer gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead with 1:38 left in the first half and Lamb hit two 3-pointers in the final minute to put them up 38-26.
Florida would close the gap to eight points to start the second half, but never got back within striking distance.
Green leads Alabama past Auburn 68-50
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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- JaMychal Green scored 19 points and Trevor Releford added 15, leading Alabama to a 68-50 victory over rival Auburn on Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide (16-7, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) won its third straight since a four-game losing streak, and this time did it without suspended star Tony Mitchell.
Alabama used a 19-6 run to build a 19-point lead by the midpoint of the second half and coasted to its fourth consecutive win in the rivalry.
Green made 8 of 13 shots, including his second 3-pointer of the season. Releford capitalized on three first-half technical fouls against Auburn and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line.
He had six turnovers and five steals.
Charles Hankerson scored 14 points for the Tide and made 3 of 5 from 3-point range. He came in averaging 3.4 points and finished within two points of his career high.
Frankie Sullivan led Auburn with 21 points, 17 in the second half.
Rob Chubb had eight points and hit his first four baskets in the opening five minutes, but didn't score again.
Tide coach Anthony Grant announced Mitchell's indefinite suspension for conduct detrimental to the team on Monday, leaving Alabama without its No. 2 scorer and rebounder.
Hankerson picked up much of the slack in his 23 minutes off the bench after providing a similar spark in last weekend's double-overtime win over Mississippi.
Auburn committed 20 turnovers and made 12 of 26 free throws. Varez Ward turned it over six times and scored three points after pouring in 24 in a 91-88 loss at No. 20 Mississippi State.
The Tigers barely managed half of that offensive production this time, going 17 of 41 from the field (41.5 percent) and making just 4 of 14 3-pointers (29 percent). Auburn is the fifth opponent Alabama has held to 50 points or less.
The Tide came in as the league's worst 3-point shooting team, but made 6 of 14 from beyond the arc to fall one 3 shy of its season high.
The Tigers cut into an 11-point deficit by scoring the first five points of the second half, but Alabama responded with its big run to take a 54-35 lead at the midway point.
The Tide led by as many as 20 before Sullivan scored seven straight to fuel a 9-0 Auburn run that cut it to 60-49 with 5:31 remaining.
Then Green scored on a putback, Releford hit two free throws after a flagrant foul was called on Sullivan and Green made a layup to end the threat.
Alabama took a 35-24 lead into halftime, with help from three technical fouls called against Auburn. Chris Denson and Kenny Gabriel were whistled for hanging on the rim after dunks and Tigers coach Tony Barbee drew a third for protesting an offensive foul call against Chubb on a screen with 17 seconds left.
Releford hit all six resulting free throws, and Green hit a jumper off a pass from Andrew Steele with 2 seconds left.