Date story was published: Wednesday, December 31, 1986
LOUISVILLE -- Kentucky's celebration of beating Louisville here Saturday came to a crashing halt last night.
Georgia was the party crasher, beating UK 69-65 at Freedom Hall in the Cats' Southeastern Conference opener.
Unlike Saturday, when Kentucky made 11 of 17 three-pointers, the new rule couldn't fuel a victory. The Wildcats made nine against Georgia, but seven came after halftime. That was after Georgia had set the tempo in a nearly flawless first half.
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Freshman Rex Chapman, held to 12 points, nearly rescued Kentucky in the final minute.
He leaned over the three-point line and hit a three-pointer to draw Kentucky to within 65-62 with 20 seconds remaining.
Chapman hit another three-pointer, a knifing line drive from about 22 feet with eight seconds left to close the gap to 67-65.
But Georgia answered with clutch free throws.
Chad Kessler hit both ends of the one-and-one with 15 seconds left to make it 67-62.
Anderson made two more bonus free throws with five seconds to set the final score.
Typical for this night, UK missed its final three-pointer. Freshman Derrick Miller, UK's most valuable player with 15 points on five three- pointers, missed with a second left.
UK fell to 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the SEC. Georgia improved to 8-3 and 1-1 in the league.
Georgia had an answer for everything Kentucky offered in the first half.
When the Wildcats opened in their tradmark man-to-man, Georgia countered with backdoor cuts and early offense.
When UK switched to a zone, which it played for the half's final 10 minutes, Georgia worked patiently to find a seam.
Mixed with a Kentucky performance that fell way short of the precision of last Saturday's 85-51 rout of Louisville, the half meant trouble.
UK, which made only two of 10 three-point shots, trailed 36-29 at intermission.
The Bulldogs took control by pounding the boards early and beat UK's man- to-man for easy baskets.
Sutton countered with a multitude of moves. The UK coach made seven substitutions in the first four minutes and finally called a timeout with 16:06 remaining.
The Cats trailed 10-6 at that point. The timeout didn't help.
UK came out with even more man-to-man pressure. But Georgia's Toney Mack, who scored a game-high 24 points, got free on a backdoor cut and took Willie Anderson's lob for a layup. It was the first of seven straight Georgia shots that scored.
Anderson completed the string with a foul-line jumper in transition. Georgia led 24-14.
Sutton surrendered his man-to-man with 10 minutes remaining and sent into a 2-3 zone.
The lead was still 10 (28-18) when Kentucky finally made a move.
Back-to-back baskets by Ed Davender, who led UK with 16 points, and Rob Lock cut the lead to six. After a Georgia free throw, Chapman's rebound basket reduced the deficit to 29-24.
A further reduction looked apparent when Richard Madison blocked a shot inside. But Lock's contested fastbreak layup was touched by Madison as it spun on the rim.
UK got as close as three (32-29) with two minutes remaining.
Typical for the half, UK didn't make another shot. Chapman missed two three-pointers, part of his 0-for-3 half from three-point territory.
Two baskets by Mack set the halftime score.
The second half started much like the first 20 minutes.
Davender missed a shot in the lane and Georgia exploited UK's man-to-man for a basket. Anderson took a lob over Chapman and laid it in.
Mack posted up Davender for two baskets. UK's only answer was a Chapman three-pointer with 19 minutes left. It was his first three-pointer of the night.
Mack's baskets gave Georgia a 42-32 lead when time was called with 15:52 remaining.
Georgia was still up by 10, at 45-35, and had the ball when Kentucky made its move.
Mack opened the door by losing the ball, the first of four Georgia turnovers in a 90-second span.
Miller's three-pointer made it 45-38.
Then, after each team squandered chances, Georgia's Patrick Hamilton slipped while making a move.
Davender picked up the loose ball and fed Blackmon for a fast-break slam.
With Freedom Hall rocking, Davender drove the lane and flicked the ball off the glass as he was bumped to the floor.
Davender cut the gamelong deficit to one at 47-46 with two more drives. On the first, he stopped at the foul line, double-clutched to avoid a defender and hit the 15-footer.
Davender's free throw -- he was fouled on another drive -- made it 47-46 with 9:59 remaining, the closest the Cats would get.
But Georgia countered. Center David Dunn drove around Irv Thomas for a layup. After Blackmon missed a three-pointer, Anderson rushed to a short turnaround to make it 51-46.
UK called time with 9:02 left.
Kentucky shot mostly three-pointers in the next five minutes, but didn't make enough to make a dent in the Georgia lead.
Miller hit the only two three-pointers the Cats made, the first cutting Georgia's lead to 53-49.
But the Bulldogs countered. Dennis Williams drove around Chapman for a layup.
Then Mack posted up Davender for a basket. Mack was fouled and made the free throw to make it 58-49.
UK got within five at 61-56, but missed free throws hurt the comeback.
Richard Madison missed the front end of two one-and-ones in the final six minutes.
But when Kentucky missed three straight three-pointers, the Cats appeared dead.
Georgia was nursing a 64-56 lead when Blackmon got an old-fashioned three- point play. He rebounded Miller's miss from three-point territory and scored while being fouled.