To say this was a bad night for the Cats would be an epic understatement. Not only did UK fail to collect its first win against a team ranked in the top 40 of the RPI, they may have lost star forward Nerlens Noel to a serious knee injury that left him screaming in pain on the O’Connell Center court in Gainesville. The injury came with with less than eight minutes left, following a Florida steal and fast break. As Florida guard Mike Rosario went for the layup, Nerlens timed his jump perfectly and blocked the shot out of bounds but landed awkwardly on his left leg and his knee collided with the basket support. Play was stopped for nearly 5 minutes as the trainers attended to Noel before the entire team carried Noel off the floor, seemingly forgetting they had a basketball game to finish.
Florida reminded them.
After playing evenly for the first 10 minutes, Florida (20-3,10-1)used a barrage of 3-pointers to pull away for a 38-25 halftime lead. The second half started with a Florida 7-1 run to stretch the lead to 19 with 15 minutes left in the game. UK (17-7,8-3) made a charge, and had the deficit down to 12 with the ball when a Julius Mays pass to Noel was intercepted, leading to the play that resulted in Noel’s injury. Florida promptly went on a 9-2 run after the stoppage against the shell-shocked Cats, and the game was effectively over.
After the game, Calipari said only that he didn’t see much of the play, but was told it looked ugly. Noel, who left the arena in a wheelchair, was set to go to an area hospital for testing. No additional update on his condition was provided.
Update: Nerlens tore his ACL and is out for the season
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