Florida is no Kentucky.
The Aggies pulled off their biggest win in Billy Kennedy's tenure at Texas A&M on Saturday at Rupp Arena, but the 10th-ranked Gators brought the Aggies back down to earth Thursday with a solid performance at both ends of the court for a 68-47 victory in front of a season-high 11,046 at Reed Arena.
"We lost to a very good team, more physical than us at every position," Kennedy said. "They are extremely well coached on the defensive end, and on the offensive end they are very hard to guard. We played well for 13 to 14 minutes, and when we get tired ... they were better than us."
A&M (12-4, 2-1) held its own for almost 15 minutes, pulling to within 21-18 on Elston Turner's only field goal of the game.
From there it was all Florida (13-2, 3-0), which moved into a first-place tie in the SEC standings with Mississippi.
The Aggies, who beat Kentucky 83-71 on Saturday, could've joined Mississippi atop the conference standings. But an 18-0 Florida run over a nine-minute span that bridged the first and second half ended any thoughts of the Aggies backing up wins against Arkansas and at Kentucky.
"Our legs got a little heavy, and our team defense kind of had a couple of lapses, not making it to shooters and they slowly stretched out the lead," A&M freshman Alex Caruso said, adding that he couldn't say exactly why the Aggies got tired. "I'm not sure. It wasn't fast-paced. We were down in a stance most of the shot clock, and our adrenaline ran out. It's not one thing in particular, just nature."
Florida scored the final 14 points of the first half with five players chipping in during the run. Then the Gators' 6-foot-10 Erik Murphy opened the second half with four of his 16 points to give Florida a 39-18 lead with 16:36 left.
"Florida has heavy legs, too," Kennedy said. "It's just their maturity and toughness was evident. We've got to get tougher and be able to play through that."
Turner had 40 points against Kentucky to earn the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week Award, but the Gators, led by Scottie Wilbekin, held Turner to four points on 1-of-10 shooting after he made 14 of 19 shots at Kentucky.
"Scottie Wilbekin did a good job of getting through screens, staying up on him," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "And obviously our big guys did a good job at the end of screens, providing a bit of help when he put the ball on the floor."
Turner entered the game leading A&M in scoring at 17.1 points per game. Florida not only held him under his average but kept him in single digits for the first time this season.
"Their team defense was good, and Elston's had nights like that this year," Kennedy said. "It's unfortunate, but when you have one primary scorer and you play a veteran defensive team ... they were aware of where he was. They knew every set. They were prepared, and they wore him down."
With A&M's leading scorer all but shut down, the Aggies struggled offensively, hitting just 34 percent from the floor -- and that's with A&M hitting four of its final six shots, including three by Caruso, who had a team-high 12 points.
The stingy defense is nothing new for Florida. The Gators have held eight teams under 50 points this season and are giving up only 48 a game in SEC play.
The game was close for the first 15 minutes, and Mike Rosario kept the Gators afloat until the rest of the team started to contribute.
Rosario made his first three 3s, putting the Gators up 13-9. He finished with a game-high 19 points. Patric Young muscled in 7 of 9 shots and hit 4 of 5 free throws for 18 points.
Rosario made of 4 of 7 from 3-point range and Murphy hit 2 of 5.
"Murphy is the X-factor for their team," Kennedy said. "When you have a [power forward] who can post up and has a great feel for the game, and we've got plodders, true post guys trying to guard him, it makes you have to play differently."
The game drew nearly double the number of fans compared to A&M's previous high this season, but many had left midway through the second half when Florida's lead reached 26 points.
"I'm disappointed for the crowd," Kennedy said. "We had great student support. Our fans came out and supported us. I wish we could have given them a better game."
NOTES -- A&M continued to rebound well, getting 16 offensive rebounds to beat the Gators 33-28 overall on the boards. ... Both teams took 50 shots with Florida making 25 and the Aggies 17. ... A&M had 16 turnovers, the most since a 64-54 loss to Oklahoma on Dec. 15. Florida had 11 turnovers. ... Florida also had 16 assists. The Aggies had nine, three by Caruso. ... A&M will travel to play Alabama at 5 p.m. Saturday.