Jamal Murray’s 35-point performance pushes Kentucky past Florida easily

Kentucky is so talented it can beat anybody. Like Louisville and Duke. But Kentucky is also so unreliable it can lose to anybody. Like Auburn and Tennessee.

John Calipari essentially said as much earlier this week.

And I’m in no position to argue.

Either way, the good version of the Wildcats showed up Saturday. They beat Florida 80-61 inside Rupp Arena to extend their winning streak at home to 33 games. And would you believe UK is now trailing only one school in the SEC standings?

It’s true.

The Wildcats’ victory over Florida — combined with Texas A&M’s loss to South Carolina — means South Carolina, Texas A&M and UK are all 7-3 in the SEC. LSU is 8-2. So, in other words, despite the ups and downs, UK still has a reasonable chance to win its league.

Especially if Jamal Murray keeps going nuts.

The heralded freshman, and projected lottery pick of the NBA Draft, took 21 shots against Florida, made 13 and finished with a career-high 35 points and six rebounds. Murray made eight of the 10 3-pointers he attempted. He had 20 points at the half. And the Canadian is now the first freshman to produce multiple 30-point games under Calipari at Kentucky.

“Jamal Murray stole the show,” first-year Florida coach Michael White told reporters afterward. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that.”

Sophomore Tyler Ulis added 18 points and 11 assists.

Next up for Kentucky is Tuesday night’s home game against Georgia. After that, the Wildcats will travel to South Carolina for a game next Saturday. And, it should be noted, Kentucky is just 2-5 in road games against Power 5 opponents this season.

Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray was a major factor in the win vs. Florida. (USATSI)
Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray was a major factor in the win vs. Florida. (USATSI)

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