ATHENS, Ga. — Andy Landers knew Kentucky was known for its aggressiveness and its hustle plays, but he told his Georgia team not to worry about that.
The Bulldogs coach wrote "outhustle" on the board before the game.
He meant it not just for No. 19 Kentucky on Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum but for every team Georgia faces from here on out as the regular season winds down.
"It's a mind-set," Landers explained later. "You don't have to be the biggest, strongest, quickest teams. We're just talking about hustling: getting to more loose balls, tipping more balls, running back faster, and tonight we did that."
And that simple formula led to a 69-51 rout of Kentucky, giving the second-place Bulldogs some breathing room in the Southeastern Conference race.
The loss was Kentucky's largest in conference play this season, with a battle at Vanderbilt looming on Sunday.
The Commodores are a game up on UK in third place in the SEC.
"As a coaching staff, we have to find a way to not let this linger," Kentucky Coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's going to take a lot of resilience to bounce back from a whipping like this."
The Bulldogs (20-6, 10-3), who have won four of their last five, got balanced scoring with five players chipping in 10 points or more, led by a season-high 16 points for Meredith Mitchell.
Jasmine James and Porsha Phillips each had 14 points. Phillips also had game highs of 16 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Jasmine Hassell had her first double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 boards. "We had it in our heart to outplay, outhustle and outlast, and that's what we did," she said.
That was the most disappointing part, Mitchell lamented afterward.
"Georgia just kind of shoved it down our throats," he said. "It was bad. ... It's the second Thursday on the road for us that we didn't respond to the physical effort of the other team. Georgia whipped us in all phases tonight."
UK trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half. The 38-22 halftime deficit was the second largest for the Cats this season. For the second straight game, UK scored a season-low 22 points in the first half.
"We came out hungry," James said. "We were hungry because we knew what we were playing for. We did a good job executing because of that. ... We tried to attack them first before they could attack us."
Courtesy of a run that included 10 unanswered points, the Bulldogs were able to turn a slim 18-12 advantage into a 28-14 lead.
"They played great," Landers said of the Bulldogs. "They rebounded the ball, defended really well and offensively, they attacked."
For the fourth straight game, three-point shooting eluded Kentucky, which missed all but one of its first 19 attempts.
For the game, UK (19-7, 8-5) made just two of 23 long-range attempts for a season-low 8.7 percent.
In the last four games, the Cats have shot just 17.7 percent from three-point range.
Victoria Dunlap led UK with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Bernisha Pinkett added 12 points and seven rebounds, but she missed all six three-pointers she attempted. Keyla Snowden, the Cats' three-point specialist, missed all eight of her tries.
Kentucky's Mathies had to leave the game for about 5 minutes in the second half after she was hit on her jaw by Ronika Ransford's shoulder midway through the second half.
Mathies remained face-down on the court for a couple minutes and Mitchell sent in a substitute, Crystal Riley, to shoot the free throws. Mathies returned to the game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tennessee 13-0 25-2
Georgia 10-3 20-6
Vanderbilt 9-4 18-8
Kentucky 8-5 19-7
LSU 7-6 17-10
South Carolina 7-6 15-11
Auburn 7-6 14-12
Arkansas 5-8 17-8
Florida 4-9 14-13
Alabama 3-10 14-12
Mississippi 3-10 10-15
Mississippi State 2-11 10-15
Georgia 69, Kentucky 51
Tennessee 82, South Carolina 60
Alabama 59, Auburn 51
Arkansas 56, Mississippi 53
Vanderbilt 74, Mississippi St. 62
Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 2 (WKYT-27)
Auburn at S. Carolina, 2 (FS South)
LSU at Arkansas, 3
Mississippi at Alabama, 3
Mississippi St. at Florida, 4:30
Georgia at Tennessee, 7 (ESPN2)