GAINESVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Kentucky seemed headed for its first two-game Southeastern Conference losing streak in more than two years before a dramatic turnaround.
Cliff Hawkins' steal and layup highlighted a game-ending 11-0 spurt as the ninth-ranked Wildcats rallied for a 68-65 victory over No. 21 Florida.
Christian Drejer hit a pair of 3-pointers to give Florida a 55-45 lead with 9:31 remaining, but he made a costly as Hawkins stole his inbounds pass and scored on a driving layup to give the Wildcats a 66-65 lead with 1:08 left.
"I was anticipating (the pass) and just reading his eyes the whole time," Hawkins said. "He threw it right to where I thought it would be. You want to make them throw the ball cross-court in that situation because it's a tough pass to make."
Erik Daniels scored 22 points for Kentucky (15-3, 5-2 SEC East), which avoided losing consecutive SEC games for the first time since Januart 5-9, 2002.
"It was a great comeback," Wildcats coach Tubby Smith said. "It showed a lot of poise and character on our behalf to hang in there after losing the lead. We have had that problem most of the year. But tonight we found a way to overcome that."
Anthony Roberson paced Florida with 19 points but came up empty on a pair of shots in the the final minute. After Roberson missed a layup, Kentucky's Chuck Hayes hit 1-of-2 from the line with 23 seconds to.
Florida went for the win, but Roberson missed an off-balance 3-pointer from the right corner. Hawkins split a pair from the line to make it 68-65 with 3.4 seconds left.
Florida's final hope ended when Walsh stepped out of bounds near mid-court while trying to catch a pass with a second left.
"I think we were a little too hyped coming into this game," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We really didn't get into the shot clock and we took some very bad shots."
The loss continued an up-and-down season for the Gators, who have dropped four of their last six games. Florida was held without a basket over the final 6:20.
During a five-minute stretch in the second half, the Gators provided a glimpse of the form that briefly made them the No. 1 in the country. Florida used a 14-0 spurt to erase a six-point deficit, taking a 47-39 lead on Walsh's 3-pointer with 12:05 remaining.
The Gators appeared in control after a pair of free throws by Walsh - who scored 16 points - gave them a 65-57 lead with 2:57 remaining. But a 3-pointer by Kelenna Azubuike started the Wildcats' comeback 18 seconds later.
"We picked up the defensive intensity and they kind of folded when we applied pressure," Hawkins said.
Gerald Fitch chipped in 10 points for Kentucky, which has won five straight against Florida.