Some observations following Florida’s 88-79 loss to Kentucky:
— There’s nothing more that first-year Florida coach Mike White can do to address UF’s free-throw shooting woes, other than force the Gators to shoot them underhanded, Rick Barry-style. For Florida to shoot 16 of 37 from the free-throw line in a must-win game (43.8 percent) either showed a case of jitters or a complete lack of focus. “I’m at a loss with the free throws,” White said. “This is my 16th year coaching and we’ve shot more free throws by far and away than any team I’ve been around. We’ll go three or four drills, then go to the foul line, and shoot pressure free throws. We’ve gotten to where the last six or seven weeks, maybe 8 or 9 weeks, consistently as a team we’ll make between 80 and 90 percent. And we always shoot them when we’re fatigued. We’ll always shoot them when we have a lather, when we’re winded. Overall I think it’s helped us. But tonight we really struggled. It was obviously a huge factor in the game.”
— Florida had a big mental gaffe late in the first half when center John Egbunu and forward Devin Robinson collided going for a sure rebound late in the first half with Florida down 34-32. Kentucky retained possession and center Marcus Lee converted an alley-oop dunk to put Kentucky up 36-32 before halftime. Simply put, Egbunu and Robinson need to communicate better when both are going for rebounds at the same time. Florida grabbed 16 offensive rebounds but only converted 8 second-chance points compared to Kentucky’s 13 second-chance points. The Wildcats outrebounded the Gators 45-35.
— Point guards Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza combined to go 4 of 17 from the floor and 0 of 4 from 3-point range. They were a little better with the ball (8-2), but Chiozza had a turnover when he was trapped in the corner early in the second half on a play when he could have called a timeout. Time is running out, but if Hill and Chiozza can regain some semblance of how they were playing in January, perhaps the Gators could make a run in the SEC Tournament. Freshman shooting guard KeVaughn Allen was more aggressive but couldn’t get shots to fall, finishing with 15 points on 5 of 16 shooting.