Archie Goodwin’s 16 points led the way in a game that Wildcats coach John Calipari described Friday as “do or die” for his defending national champions.
Kentucky (21-10, 12-6) still needs a win in next week’s Southeastern Conference Tournament to bolster its bid. The Wildcats responded with their biggest gut check of the season, outscoring the Gators 11-0 over the final 7:28 for their second win over a Top 25 opponent.
Erik Murphy’s 17 points led Florida (24-6, 14-4), which missed its final 11 shots and was 22 of 55 overall from the field (40 percent).
ALABAMA 61, GEORGIA 58
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Trevor Releford hit a buzzer-beating 50-footer to give Alabama (20-11, 12-6) a win over Georgia (15-16, 9-9).
“I knew it was on target, but I thought it was going to be a little bit short,” said Releford, who finished with 19 points.
Rodney Cooper grabbed a loose ball from a driving Charles Mann in the final seconds and lofted a pass to Releford, who quickly launched the long shot to prevent overtime.
“I didn’t think I was going to overtime,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I thought we were going to win the game and then we ended up losing. How’s that feel? Not very good.”
The Crimson Tide lost a 14-point halftime lead before Releford’s shot salvaged fading hopes of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Alabama will be seeded fourth in the SEC Tournament and receive a bye into Friday’s quarterfinals.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 points for Georgia, which will be the No. 8 seed.
VANDERBILT 74, SOUTH CAROLINA 64
In Nashville, Tenn., Rod Odom and Dai-Jon Parker each scored 18 points to lead Vanderbilt (14-16, 8-10).
Brenton Williams led South Carolina (14-17, 4-14) with 17 points.
TENNESSEE 64, MISSOURI 62
In Knoxville, Tenn., Jordan McRae scored 15 points and Jarnell Stokes recorded a double-double as Tennessee (19-11, 11-7) rallied from an eight-point, second-half deficit to beat Missouri (22-9, 11-7) and boost its NCAA Tournament hopes.
Stokes finished with 13 points and 13 for the Vols.
Laurence Bowers scored 20 points for Missouri (22-9, 11-7).
MISSISSIPPI 81, LOUISIANA STATE 67
In Baton Rouge, La., Marshall Henderson scored 22 points, and Mississippi (23-8, 12-6) clinched a double-bye in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Johnny O’Bryant III had 17 points and 12 rebounds for LSU (18-11, 9-9).
ARKANSAS 73, TEXAS A&M 62
In Fayetteville, Ark., Mardracus Wade scored 14 points as Arkansas (19-12, 10-8) secured its first unbeaten run through the Southeastern Conference at home since the 1997-98 season with a win over Texas A&M (17-14, 7-11).
MISSISSIPPI STATE 74,
AUBURN 71 (OT)
In Starkville, Miss., Craig Sword scored 19 points and hit two crucial free throws in overtime to lead Mississippi State (9-21, 4-14) over Auburn (9-22, 3-15).