Some observations following UF’s 61-60 SEC Tournament title win over Kentucky.
– Credit Florida for doing a strong job defensively against Kentucky freshman forward Julius Randle. The 6-foot-9, SEC Newcomer of the Year was held to just 4 points and 7 rebounds on 1 of 7 shooting from the floor. Florida threw a mix of double-teams at Randle and also wore him down by getting the game going up and down the floor in the first half.
– After a lackluster effort against Tennessee, the bench bounced back with a much better showing against Kentucky. Sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith had 6 rebounds in 29 minutes, point guard Kasey Hill had 4 points and 3 assists and freshman forward Chris Walker had a career-high 5 points and was more engaged defensively. Walker credited his improved defense on Sunday to extra film study with Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey.
– Florida’s 10 missed free throws (7-17) definitely played a role in the game being tighter than it should have been down the stretch. But Florida also had some questionable shot selection in the game’s final 11 minutes. Senior forward Casey Prather seems to have fallen in love with his mid-range jumper again, a high risk, low reward shot. Kentucky forward Willie Cauely-Stein was a factor inside with his shot-blocking ability, but there were times the Gator low post players could have gone up stronger to draw fouls.