LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Kentucky found a solution for Anthony Roberson and some offense in the second half to keep an impressive streak alive.
Kelenna Azubuike scored 18 points and freshman Rajon Rondo added 14 as the fifth-ranked Wildcats shook off a poor-shooting first half to record its 18th straight win against a Southeastern Conference opponent, a 69-66 victory over surging Florida.
"We try not to worry about that, that's the past," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said about the SEC winning streak. "Once the game is over, everything that happened prior to that is history. We try to concern ourselves for the next task, which is getting ready for Georgia. It is good to be winning and we're happy with it. Our kids take a lot of pride in winning the SEC."
The win - Kentucky's eighth straight overall and eighth in a row over Florida - gave the Wildcats a commanding three-game lead over the Gators in the East Division.
Roberson, who leads the conference in scoring in league games (21.6), scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half but was held scoreless for the first 17 minutes of the second half while the Wildcats shot 60 percent (15-of-25) after intermission to wipe out a 36-29 deficit.
"We wanted to ask Rajon to keep the ball off (Roberson) and deny him as much as he could," Smith said. "Rajon is quick enough to make him work a little harder. I think after we talked at halftime about how we wanted to guard him, he did a better job.
"He's heard a lot about him and he's one of the top players in the country. Anyone would be looking forward to measuring themselves against the best. He's one of the top players and he proved that tonight. We did a lot to try to slow him down and we were successful, for the most part, in the second half."
The Wildcats shot just 32 percent (9-of-28) in the opening half but managed to improve to 5-1 this season when trailing at the break.
Kentucky (18-2, 9-0 SEC East) trailed, 45-38, four minutes into the second half before going on a 9-0 run. Azubuike scored four points during the run and Rondo capped the burst with a running behind-the-back pass to Ravi Moss, who made a layup for a 47-45 advantage with 13 minutes left.
Rondo, who finished with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, sparked a 14-2 run with three layups as Kentucky extended its edge to 64-54 with 3 1/2 minutes left. Florida never got closer than three points thereafter.
"It took everything we had to stay in the game and give us a chance," Smith said. "We had some guys make some clutch plays and some clutch performances. We showed real grit and came out with a hard-fought (win). There are going to be hard-fought SEC games from here on out and we know that."
Azubuike shot 7-of-11 from the floor and Chuck Hayes added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats, who outrebounded the Gators, 34-27, and scored 22 points off 16 turnovers. Florida had outrebounded its last six opponents by a 14.5 average margin.
"I thought we were pretty effective offensively," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "We did a really good job defensively in the first half. In the second half, they got the ball inside and made some plays."
Roberson finished with 23 points - matching his average over his previous seven games - but was 3-of-10 after intermission. Matt Walsh added 12 of his 18 in the second half for the Gators (14-6, 6-3), who had won three of their last four games, including Saturday's 85-54 pasting of Vanderbilt.