ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Kentucky played like a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Then again, Florida was not expected to pose a problem for the Wildcats.
Chuck Hayes scored a career-high 23 points and Kelenna Azubuike and Gerald Fitch each added 18 to lead eighth-ranked Kentucky to an 89-73 rout of the Gators in the Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome.
"We feel like we earned the No. 1 seed," said Hayes, who made 10-of-14 shots and added eight rebounds and a career-high eight assists. "Our fans go where we go and it felt like a home game today. You kind of feel sorry for the other teams. But it's good to get their support."
It is the 10th SEC tournament title in 13 years for the Wildcats (26-4) with five of them coming under coach Tubby Smith. Kentucky owns 25 SEC titles, more than the rest of the league combined (18).
A week after an 82-62 blowout of Florida, Kentucky led from start to finish and again dominated the Gators inside, outscoring them, 44-18 in the paint.
"This was a real efficient win for us," Smith said. "The guys came here and were real focused."
Afterwards, the Wildcats didn't show much emotion, perhaps because they made this win, their seventh straight over Florida, look easy.
Florida (20-10) was making its first appearance in the SEC title game since 1994 and has never won the event. Despite the loss, the Gators will likely receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"Kentucky's proven all year that they're one of the best teams in the country," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "Hopefully, our guys will all respond from this and we can get them prepared and ready and see where we go."
Matt Walsh led Florida with 17 points, but Kentucky put the clamps on Anthony Roberson, who made just 3-of-14 shots and finished with nine points after scoring 35 points in the Gators' semifinal win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Fitch, who is from Georgia, earned SEC tournament Most Valuable Player honors.
"It's a great accomplishment for myself, but you have to give my teammates the credit," said Fitch, who swished a 3-pointer from the corner four seconds into the game to set the tone.
Azubuike scored 11 points in the first 4:52 as the Wildcats raced to a 20-7 lead. Florida responded with a 12-2 run, highlighted by a basket and 3-pointer by Walsh.
But Kentucky came back with an 11-2 spurt and increased the lead to 47-32 on a pair of free throws by Fitch with 49 seconds left in the half.
The Wildcats built their biggest lead at 82-57 on a 3-pointer by Cliff Hawkins with 5:18 remaining.