Kentucky got what they wanted.
Andrew Harrison dribbled right at James Young, setting a ball-screen on a dribble handoff that allowed Young to curl into the lane. But Young’s feet gave out, and Kentucky’s rally fell short.
Florida — the SEC regular season champs, the No. 1 team in the country and a virtual lock to be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament — added an SEC tournament title to this season’s resume with a thrilling, 61-60 win over John Calipari’s Wildcats.
It wasn’t entirely perfect, however, as Billy Donovan’s club blew a 15-point second half lead in the final ten minutes and missed a pair of front-ends in the final 20 seconds. So credit Kentucky for not folding the way that they have so many times this season.
And with that, we head to the bracket reveal. Florida will enter the dance as one of the heavy favorites to win it all. Kentucky? They are going to win — or lose — a lot of brackets, only I don’t know whether or not that will be the result of a long run through the dance or an early exit.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.