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Cats, Gators Win As (Old) East Beats (Old) West Again

Good thing the SEC did away with its old two-division standings board.  Otherwise everyone on God’s green Earth would realize that Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt are head and shoulders above everyone else in the league.

Oh, wait.

Last night, second-place Florida put more distance between itself and third-place Vandy with a homecourt rout of sad sack Auburn.  Then, first-place Kentucky put what could be another nail in Rick Stansbury’s coffin… if some Mississippi State fans and boosters have their way.

 

Florida 63, Auburn 47

The good news: Florida used a 26-4 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 21-point lead.  The Gators shot a blistering 53.5% from the field and connected on 11-of-21 from 3-point range.

The bad news: The Gators turned the ball over 18 times on the night and got an R-rated halftime talking to from head coach Billy Donovan.

The really bad news:  Forward Will Yeguete is likely done for the season after suffering a broken bone in his left foot during last night’s second half.  ”There’s going to be some things that we’re going to need to practice if it is broken and he is done,” Donovan said. “Now, it’s not how do you get by for a week or a couple games. Now it’s like, `OK, we’re dealing with this for the rest of the season.”‘

Auburn fell to 4-9 in the SEC and wasted a three-point halftime lead by shooting just 30.4% from the floor in the second stanza.

 

Kentucky 73, Mississippi State 64

For a half, it looked like mighty, top-ranked Kentucky might finally succumb to the same road woes suffered by everyone else in the SEC.  The Cats trailed fired up MSU 41-28 at halftime.  That 13-point deficit?  It was the largest faced by UK all season.

But the second half saw the methodical Wildcats climb from 13 down to one point up with just over four minutes to play.  Senior guard Darius Miller scored all 12 of his points during one crucial span to put Kentucky ahead for good.  His three-pointer with 1:27 to served as the dagger, putting UK ahead by seven, 71-64.

One element contributing to MSU’s fade was the loss of Rodney Hood to a sprained knee in the first half.  Stansbury had only a six-man rotation to fend off wave after wave of Kentucky runs.  ”There wasn’t an ounce of energy they brought back to the locker room,” the embattled coach said of his team.  ”They left it all out on the floor.”

As for Kentucky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrance Jones get the most press and Anthony Davis is mowing down shot-blocking records… but it’s the team’s senior who “is the fiber that holds that team together,” according to Stansbury.  ”He’s the key to them.”

 

And in case you’re wondering what the current SEC standings board would look like if the league were still split in two (and not just scheduled as if it were split in two), here’s a look:

 

Would-Be SEC East   SEC Record Would-Be SEC West   SEC Record
Kentucky   13-0 Alabama   6-6
Florida   10-3 LSU   6-6
Vanderbilt   8-4 Miss. State   6-7
Tennessee   6-6 Arkansas   5-7
Georgia   3-9 Ole Miss   5-7
S. Carolina   2-10 Auburn   4-9

 

 


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