GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Scottie Wilbekin scored a career-high 18 points, Dorian Finney-Smith added 15 and No. 19 Florida held on to beat No. 13 Kansas 67-61 on Tuesday night.
The Gators bounced back from a buzzer-beater loss at No. 9 Connecticut last week and extended their home-winning streak to 21 games. The latest victory came in the Big 12-SEC Challenge and surely will be meaningful when the NCAA tournament seeds are settled in March.
Wilbekin, who injured his right ankle against the Huskies eight days ago, made 7 of 12 shots and added six assists.
Freshman Andrew Wiggins led the Jayhawks (6-3) with 26 points and 11 rebounds — his first double-double and both career highs. Kansas has lost two straight.
The Gators (7-2) went on a 21-0 run and led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but Kansas made it 60-55 on Wiggins’ 3-pointer with 55.8 seconds remaining. It was his second 3 in the final 1:20.
Florida closed it out from the free-throw line — barely.
The Jayhawks fouled center Patric Young down the stretch, and the big man missed all of his free throws. It got even more dicey for the Gators when Casey Prather, one of Florida’s top free-throw shooters, missed two with 22 seconds remaining.
Jamari Traylor hit two on the other end, cutting Florida’s lead to 65-61 with 10.9 seconds left. Florida freshman Kasey Hill ended any chance of a comeback by draining two free throws.
Aside from Wiggins, who made 7 of 15 shots, Kansas had no one else score in double figures.
The biggest issue for the Jayhawks was 24 turnovers, 16 in the first half.
Many of those came in the decisive early run.
Florida used the 21-0 run to turn a seven-point deficit into a double-digit lead. The Gators, who missed six of their first seven shots in the game, got hot from the field. Hill, returning to the rotation after missing the last four games with a high-ankle sprain, got the spurt going with a driving layup.