Wrong. Despite an abysmal shooting effort, the Wildcats missed a three point shot at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime. The Florida Gators prevailed, capturing their sixteenth straight win, 64-61.
The Gators tried to establish dominance early, jumping all over the Cats at the opening tip running out to an early 10-3 lead on buckets by Taurean Green, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard. The Gators tried to put the Cats away early running the lead up to 15 at 31-16 at the 7:09 mark. Kentucky, cold as ice from the floor, teetered on the verge of being blown out of their own gym.
"We didn't seem to have any intensity," said coach Tubby Smith, "Maybe we were a little bit nervous. When you're not making shots, it makes it a long day. We expended a lot of energy with turnovers. We took care of the ball pretty well tonight. When they were making shots early on, we weren't. Always, when you're coming from behind, it takes a lot more energy."
But the Cats would rip off an 11-0 run behind some nifty play by seniors Bobby Perry and Sheray Thomas and pulled to within four. Kentucky's play would continue to be up and down, though the Cats drew to within three points, at 43-40 on a Randolph Morris jumper at the 11:35 mark. But each time the Cats would get close it seemed Florida had an answer. Green, Al Horford and Corey Brewer would score and spread the Gator lead back to eight at 50-42.
"We got up early by five, eight, and then ten," said Florida coach Billy Donovan, "Then I think it got up to 14 or 15 and you know they (Kentucky) are going to make a run at you. I just talked to the guys, even with a crowd that loud, (and told them) lets just regroup and we will be fine.
The Gators were clearly in the driver's seat, with a nine point lead with just 25 seconds remaining when the Wildcats would make one final push. Ramel Bradley canned a three point shot to pull the Cats to within just six. Following a timeout Bradley stole the ball on the inbounds play and followed with another three pointer and the Cats were down just three with 18 ticks on the clock.
The Wildcats had one final shot to tie the game but Bradley's last second attempt fell just short. "I got over to the wing and picked up my dribble, so I had to shoot," said Bradley, "I didn't have enough time to pass. I got a good look and thought it was going to fall, but it was short."
"The loss really feels two-sided to me," said Randolph Morris, "When you take a team down to the wire and lose, it hurts. Then again, we're encouraged by the way we fought and showed heart. Our team never gave up."