UK Men's Basketball

Cats gorge on Georgia on ‘Cat Tuesday’

Kentucky turns up defense, but look at that offense

Wildcats shooting 52 percent from field in past two games after vowing to work harder -- on defense
Up Next
Wildcats shooting 52 percent from field in past two games after vowing to work harder -- on defense

Never mind Fat Tuesday. It was Cat Tuesday in Rupp Arena.

Kentucky blasted Georgia 82-48. UK’s three star guards led the way by thoroughly outplaying Georgia’s older, more experienced and highly-regarded backcourt trio.

For a second straight game, Kentucky shot holes in a defense. On Saturday, UK made 51.7 percent of its shots in whipping Florida.

Kentucky did even better against Georgia, which led the Southeastern Conference in field-goal defense. UK made 51.8 percent of its shots. Georgia had held its SEC opponents to 37.8-percent accuracy.

Nineteen of Georgia’s 21 opponents had shot below their season average. Until Tuesday, only one opponent – Texas A&M – had made better than 45.3 percent of its shots.

Like Florida Coach Mike White, Georgia Coach Mark Fox lamented his team’s defensive effort.

“Very, very disappointed,” Fox said. “You have to give them credit for making open shots. They have really good players. When they’re wide open, they’re going to make them.”

Kentucky improved to 18-6 overall and 8-3 in the SEC.

“One of our better efforts this year,” UK Coach John Calipari said.

Georgia, widely seen as needing a marquee victory to boost its chances for a NCAA Tournament bid, fell to 13-9 overall and 6-5 in the league.

Kentucky dominated on the defensive end, too. Georgia shot a season-low 22 percent. The previous low was 28.3 percent against Texas A&M. That marked the worst shooting by a UK opponent since Montana State made 19.7 percent of its shots (12 of 61) on Nov. 23, 2014.

Georgia didn’t score its 10th basket until 2:02 remained in the second half. The defeat equaled the 34-point beating the Bulldogs suffered against Texas A&M last month.

“Obviously, we got whupped at both ends,” Fox said.

Jamal Murray led UK with 24 points. Tyler Ulis and Derek Willis added 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Yante Maten posted a double-double for Georgia. He scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Kentucky ended the first half with a 14-2 run. That gave the Cats a 42-24 halftime lead and brought back a good-old-days feel in Rupp Arena.

Just like in the dominating days of yesteryear, Kentucky outclassed its opponent. The feel-good throw-back feeling picked up steam in the final four minutes of the first half.

Prior to that, Kentucky zipped to an early 24-13 lead thanks to making nine of its first 12 shots.

Then UK went six and one-half minutes without a point. That enabled Georgia to close within 28-22.

Ulis began the 14-2 closing run with a driving layup.

Later, Willis thrilled the crowd by retrieving a loose ball and driving to a dunk. That expanded the lead to 36-23.

Ulis capped the run with another driving layup. That set the halftime score with 50 seconds left and caused the crowd to erupt in a full-throated Go-Big-Blue chant.

Georgia looked helpless. The Bulldogs made only five of 25 shots in the half. That included missing the final 17 shots of the half. Georgia’s last basket came with 13:33 left. Thereafter, the Bulldogs’ 11 points came on free throws.

“We just collapsed,” Fox said.

Nothing changed in the second half.

Georgia didn’t score until Mann drove to a layup with 15:38 left. That snapped a streak of 18 minutes without a basket for the Bulldogs. In that time, Georgia missed 22 straight shots.

Moments earlier, Ulis stripped Kenny Gaines of the ball and sped to a layup. That completed a 10-0 UK run to start the second half and left Fox standing in front of his bench with his hands on his hips.

Quote of the game

Murray followed up his career-high 35-point game against Florida by scoring a team-high 24.

In those two games, Murray made 14 of 20 three-point shots.

Calipari couldn’t resist a good-natured needle.

“He’s getting better,” the UK coach said of Murray. “He had one baseline flip. He could not help himself. It’s like crack cocaine. ‘I’ve got to do this.’ And he flipped it under. Had no chance of making it. But he’s getting better.”

Murray smiled when asked about the crack cocaine analogy. He asked reporters not to make too much out of Calipari’s playful jab.

Poythress sidelined

Alex Poythress did not play. UK neither confirmed nor denied that Poythress had torn meniscus in his right knee. He did not play against Florida Saturday after limping off the court during pre-game warm-ups.

Calipari, who declined to identify the injury, said Poythress would “be out about two weeks, I’d say.”

Recently, Calipari called Poythress “our post presence.” UK has been searching for an offensive presence in the low post all season.

Poythress gave Kentucky the semblance of a post scorer as evidenced by shooting 10 free throws in the last three games he played.

By contrast, the other likely candidates to play in the post are relative strangers to free-throw shooting. Marcus Lee had shot one free throw in his last six games going into Tuesday night’s action. Skal Labissiere had shot one free throw in his last five games.

After the game, Calipari mentioned Isaac Humphries and Isaiah Briscoe as possibilities in giving UK a post presence.

No. 22 KENTUCKY 82, GEORGIA 48

GEORGIA

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

PF

PT

Maten

30

4-14

8-8

11

0

1

16

Geno

23

0-0

0-0

0

1

4

0

Mann

28

2-4

5-6

3

1

2

9

Gaines

24

3-12

0-0

2

0

3

8

Frazier

31

0-8

4-4

4

1

5

4

Jackson II

8

1-2

2-2

0

1

1

5

Wilridge

12

0-0

0-0

3

0

2

0

Iduwe

3

0-1

2-3

0

0

0

2

Kessler

13

0-1

0-0

2

1

0

0

Edwards

12

0-2

0-0

1

0

1

0

Ogbeide

16

1-6

2-4

7

0

1

4

Totals

200

11-50

23-27

36

5

20

48

Percentages: FG .220, FT .852. 3-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Gaines 2-5, Jackson II 1-2, Frazier 0-4). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 15 (Mann 6, Maten 3, Wilridge 2, Geno, Ogbeide, Jackson II, Gaines). Steals: 0 Technical Fouls: None.

KENTUCKY

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

A

PF

PT

Lee

16

2-2

0-1

2

0

2

4

Willis

28

4-8

0-0

6

0

1

11

Ulis

34

6-11

2-3

3

8

1

14

Briscoe

23

2-6

3-8

3

4

2

7

Murray

30

8-14

2-2

2

0

2

24

Labissiere

18

3-9

0-0

7

0

5

6

Matthews

16

2-2

3-4

5

0

1

7

David

2

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

Mulder

3

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

0

Humphries

14

0-1

0-0

3

0

5

0

Floreal

3

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

0

Hawkins

13

2-3

4-4

0

1

1

9

Totals

200

29-56

14-22

34

13

20

82

Percentages: FG .518, FT .636. 3-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Murray 6-10, Willis 3-7, Hawkins 1-1, Labissiere 0-1, Ulis 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 7 (Humphries 4, Labissiere, Lee, Willis). Turnovers: 7 (Briscoe 2, Murray, Humphries, Hawkins). Steals: 8 (Ulis 3, Murray 2, Willis 2, Briscoe). Technical Fouls: None.

Georgia

24

24

48

Kentucky

42

40

82

A—22,136. Officials—Pat Adams, Tony Henderson, Gerry Pollard.

Next game

Kentucky at South Carolina

Noon Saturday (ESPN)

Mobile users, see the box score here.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments