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Florida handles Kentucky

No. 1 Gators win, 64-61, improving to 16-0 in the SEC and becoming the first team in 30 years to beat the Wildcats five times in a row.

February 11, 2007|From the Associated Press

LEXINGTON, KY. — Last year, the Florida Gators ran through the NCAA tournament. This season, they're dominating the Southeastern Conference.

Top-ranked Florida (23-2, 16-0) won its 16th straight overall, 64-61 on Saturday night, and fifth in a row against No. 20 Kentucky -- the program that has been the league standard bearer.

"We're just trying to build and be like Kentucky is," Gators Coach Billy Donovan said. "Sometimes maybe people have harsh expectations, and that's unfair. We're trying to build a program, build a tradition."

This one came down to a last-second three-point attempt by Ramel Bradley that could have tied the score but missed, allowing the defending national champions to hold on for the victory.

Florida was up, 63-54, with 20 seconds left before Bradley hit consecutive threes to cut the margin to three. Before that, Kentucky (18-7, 7-3) had made only one of 19 attempts from beyond the arc and was threatening the school-worst one-for-19 performance in 2002 against South Carolina.

It had been 30 years since Kentucky, college basketball's winningest program, had been beaten five times in a row by one opponent. Tennessee did it from 1975 to '77. No team has defeated Kentucky six straight times.

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