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Knight helps Kentucky claim SEC championship

Mar 14, 2011 - 12:58 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Brandon Knight led all scorers with 17 points, as No. 15 Kentucky claimed the SEC Tournament championship with a 70-54 victory over 12th-ranked Florida.

Terrence Jones went for 16 points and seven rebounds, while Darius Miller ended with 15 points and six boards for Kentucky (25-8), which defended its title and earned the 27th conference championship in school history.

"We played well," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "We defended and rebounded after the beginning of the game. They got eight offensive rebounds, or seven in the first eight minutes, and then after that, we rebounded."

DeAndre Liggins chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds for the Wildcats, who improved to 90-33 in the all-time series versus the Gators.

Both teams made the NCAA Tournament, of course, although in reverse order than Sunday's outcome.

Kentucky got a No. 4 seed in the East Region and will start against Princeton. Florida earned a No. 2 seed in the Southeast and will open against UC-Santa Barbara.

Kenny Boynton had a team-best 10 points and Chandler Parsons had nine points and 10 boards for Florida (26-7), which also got eight points each from Erving Walker and Scottie Wilbekin.

"I thought we struggled. I thought we had some things around the basket we weren't able to finish. I thought we missed a lot of lay-ups," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "The biggest part was I didn't think we were strong enough and physical enough around the basket."

Trailing by three with 10:26 left in the opening half, Eloy Vargas' free throw capped a string of 10 straight to give Kentucky a 31-24 lead with 3:36 remaining and the Wildcats took a 34-29 edge into the locker room thanks to a Doron Lamb jumper.

Miller scored five points during a 7-0 run to start the second half that put the Wildcats up by double digits and they controlled the pace throughout.

Josh Harrellson's layup with 7:09 to play had Kentucky ahead 53-40, but Vernon Macklin's jumper and Walker's triple got Florida to within eight a minute later.

The Wildcats weren't about to let the game get away, as Jones hit from beyond the arc on their next trip to restore the double-figure advantage and the Gators could only get as close as nine. Kentucky made the majority of its free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

Game Notes

The Wildcats and Gators have met on four occasions in the SEC title game, and Kentucky has won three of the contests...Kentucky shot 41.7 percent from the field and 6-of-14 from three-point range...Florida made 38.6 percent of its shots and 7-of-20 from beyond the arc.