Bradshaw’s 3-pointer gives No. 6 Kentucky 87-85 win at Florida in SEC opener


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Bradshaw hit a 3-pointer with 1:27 minutes remaining — just his third of the season for the 7-foot-1 player — and No. 6 Kentucky beat Florida 87-85. Saturday marked the first Southeastern Conference meeting between the rivals in 26 years.

Bradshaw finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (11-2), who won their fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games.

All Bradshaw didn’t do was go bigger than a 3 from the top of the key coming out of timeout. This broke a 76-all tie and gave Big Blue all the momentum it needed on the road.

Antonio Reeves led Kentucky with 19 points, and DJ Wagner added 14 points. Reed Shepard also scored 14, including six consecutive free throws, to tie it.

Kentucky made 12 of 13 from the charity stripe after missing consecutive first-and-ones.

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Florida’s six-game winning streak ended. The Gators (10-4) led most of the time – except for 8 minutes and 20 seconds – and were poised to clinch the championship for the first time in more than two years.

But they cooled off in tough times, missing four consecutive shots and going scoreless for nearly 3 minutes.

Zion Pullin’s three-point play gave the Gators a chance with 30 seconds remaining, but Shepard made two free throws to help thwart it.

Pullin and Walter Clayton led the Gators with 23 points each. Riley Kugel added 15 off the bench.

Kentucky: Coach John Calipari has his best team in years, entering the game averaging 91.1 points. The Wildcats could see that number drop in league play, but perhaps not as much as the opener evidenced.

Florida: The Gators are as talented and deep as they have been in a decade and will be tough for teams in SEC play. They needed more from starters Tyrese Samuel and Will Richard in this one. Samuel finished with three points, and Richard had two while missing all eight shots.

Kentucky: Hosts Missouri on Tuesday.

Florida: Plays at No. 22 Ole Miss on Wednesday.

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