Coach on the court: Kentucky trusts Ulis to make things right
Freshman Isaac Humphries’ 15 minutes against Florida on Saturday equaled his total playing time since Jan. 2.
Because of Georgia’s size and bulk, Humphries might again see significant playing time Tuesday, Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said.
“This would be a good game for Isaac because of their post players,” Robic said Monday. “They actually have size in the post.”
The matchups against recent opponents like Tennessee, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama and Auburn made for “tough games” for Humphries, Robic said.
“This is a matchup-type game that benefits all our bigger players.”
Against Florida, Humphries matched his career highs of six rebounds (he also had six at UCLA) and two blocks (Duke and South Florida).
Robic said he expected Alex Poythress to play against Georgia.
Poythress missed the game against Florida because of discomfort in his right knee (not the left knee, which was surgically repaired after he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in December 2014).
X-rays Sunday showed no structural damage, UK Coach John Calipari said.
“He’s doing OK,” Robic said of Poythress. “Right now, he’s just day-to-day. Expect him to play (against Georgia). One of those things. He’s felt sore and getting treatment on it.”
Georgia sophomore Yante Maten (YAWN-tay May-tin) has more than tripled his scoring average of last season (from 5.0 points to 15.6) and increased his rebounding average from 4.3 to 7.9.
“Not something we didn’t anticipate,” Georgia Coach Mark Fox said of the dramatic improvement. “We felt like last year, he was just behind two terrific seniors (Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic). (He) didn’t maybe get the minutes that could have made him more productive as a freshman.”
Maten, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward, averaged 18.2 minutes last season. His average of 29.6 minutes this season ranks second on Georgia’s team.
In two games against UK last season, Maten averaged 10.5 points and 8.0 rebounds.
Mann free throws
Only four players in Southeastern Conference history have shot more free throws than Georgia guard Charles Mann.
His 813 free-throw attempts rank behind only Pete Maravich of LSU (1,152), Bailey Howell of Mississippi State (892), BJ McKie of South Carolina (873) and Carl Widseth of Tennessee (848).
By the way, Kenny Walker holds the UK record of 733.
“I think he lived at the free-throw line for four years,” Robic said of Mann.
Robic put the onus of keeping Mann off the foul line on Kentucky’s guards, who he said are improving in keeping opponents from driving to the basket area.
“I thought Saturday’s game was terrific defensively,” Robic said.
Only five SEC players have made more free throws than Mann’s 559: Maravich (893), Howell (682), McKie (672), Allan Houston of Tennessee (651) and Widseth (621).
Home and away
UK has won 33 straight home games. The Cats have lost six of their last eight games away from Rupp Arena.
“We just have to make sure when we go on the road we bring the same energy we bring when we’re here at home,” Skal Labissiere said.
Kentucky’s 72-64 victory at Georgia last March was riveting. UK, still undefeated and aspiring for college basketball’s first 40-0 record, faced its largest second-half deficit of the regular season.
Georgia out-shot and out-rebounded Kentucky. Georgia had never beaten a No. 1-ranked team in 15 previous attempts.
“They played so well today,” Karl-Anthony Towns said of the Bulldogs. “Absolutely amazing. They played better than us. We happened to play better at the right time.”
Derek Willis, who had a ringside seat, needed help in remembering the game. When told that UK rallied to win, he said, “Probably got complacent and probably thought we could just walk in, play this team (and win). Stuff happens.”
Playing with pain
Georgia guard J.J. Frazier scored 26 points in an overtime victory over Arkansas despite a migraine headache.
Frazier usually takes medication to treat the migraine headaches when he feels one coming on. But the medication was unavailable.
“He’s such a competitor,” Fox said after the game. “His competitiveness and his will to win carried him through a lot of discomfort.”
▪ Both Kentucky and Georgia have shot fewer free throws than their opponents. UK’s last seven opponents have shot more free throws. Overall 12 opponents have shot more free throws than the Cats. As for Georgia, nine opponents have shot more free throws. LSU more than doubled Georgia in free-throw attempts (55-24).
▪ Brad Nessler, Sean Farnham and sideline reporter Shannon Spake will call the game for ESPN.