Sidelines with John Clay

Kentucky basketball: Ten things to know about the Georgia matchup

Georgia’s Charles Mann, right, hugs J.J. Frazier, left, as South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell (0) walks off the court after an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 11, 2016. Georgia won 65-64.
Georgia’s Charles Mann, right, hugs J.J. Frazier, left, as South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell (0) walks off the court after an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, March 11, 2016. Georgia won 65-64. The Associated Press

Ten things about Saturday’s Kentucky-Georgia semifinal matchup in the SEC Tournament:

1. Kentucky jumped all over Georgia for an 82-48 blowout win when the two teams met at Rupp Arena -- their only regular-season meeting -- back on Feb. 9. John Calipari’s clubhit nine of its first 12 shots and jumped to a 24-13 lead in the first eight minutes and led the visiting Bulldogs 42-24 at the half.

Kentucky didn’t let up, scoring the first 10 points of the second half. Georgia didn’t crack the 40-point mark until there was 4:33 left. UK actually led 78-41 with 2:15 remaining.

2. Georgia shot 22 percent in that first game. The Bulldogs made just 11 of 50 shots. It was the third-lowest field goal percentage by a UK opponent in the John Calipari Era. The other two came last season when Kansas shot 19.6 when being steamrolled by the Cats in the Champions Classic and Montana State shot 19.7 percent.

J.J. Frazier, considered Georgia’s best player, missed all eight of his shots at Rupp Arena back in February. Frazier was zero-of-four from three. If not for four free throws, he would have been shut out. Yante Maten missed 10 of 14 shots. Kenny Gaines missed nine of 12. Georgia shot 20 percent the first half; 24 percent the second.

3. Meanwhile, Kentucky got 24 points from Jamal Murray. It was the third game in what is now a streak of 11 straight in which the freshman has scored 20-or-more points. Murray made eight of 14 shots, including six of 10 three-pointers. He was a perfect two-of-two from the foul line.

Tyler Ulis added 14 points and eight assists. He also had three steals. Derek Willis hit three of seven three-pointers and scored 11 points. Skal Labissiere matched his then career-high of seven rebounds.

4. John Calipari is 10-2 versus Georgia as the Kentucky coach. He won his first two games against the Bulldogs before losing 77-70 in Athens on Jan. 8, 2011. His 2013 team, on its way to collapsing down the stretch without Nerlens Noel, lost at Georgia 72-62 on March 7, 2013.

Even though Georgia lost, coach Mark Fox was considered to have one of the better game plans against last year’s 38-1 Kentucky team. UK won 72-64 in Athens, but the Bulldogs led 62-56 with 5:36 remaining. Kentucky went on a 12-0 run and pulled out the victory.

5. This Georgia team has won five straight games, beating Ole Miss, South Carolina and Alabama to end the regular season, then Mississippi State and South Carolina again in the SEC Tournament thanks to late heroics. The first win over South Carolina came in Columbia.

Frazier scored 26 points in the win over Ole Miss, 28 in the win over Mississippi State in this tournament, then 20 in Georgia’s win over South Carolina on Friday night. The guard also hit one of two free throws with two seconds left to give the Bulldogs the one-point win. He scored 15 points in the second half.

6. Yante Maten has been one of the league’s most improved players. The Georgia forward is averaging 16 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 78.3 percent from the foul line. He also leads Georgia in blocked shots with 58. He had 17 points and 12 rebounds on Friday night.

7. Over the last 10 SEC Tournaments, Kentucky has played Georgia just twice. Billy Gillispie’s Cats lost to Georgia 60-56 in overtime in the 2008 tournament. That was the game played at Georgia Tech after a tornado hit the Georgia Dome forcing the game to be postponed to the next morning. Calipari’s team beat Georgia 70-58 in the 2014 tournament.

8. Kentucky is coming off a Friday night thrashing of Alabama in which the Cats averaged 1.451 points per possession. That’s the second-highest PPP of the Calipari Era. UK averaged 1.493 points per possession in a win over Hartford on Dec. 29, 2009. UK made 14 of 28 three-pointers in that 2009 game. It made 13 of 22 on Friday.

9. Speaking of three-pointers, Kentucky has now made 10-or-more three-pointers in seven games, including that first meeting with Georgia. The Cats made 11 against Louisville, 12 against Florida at Rupp, 10 against Georgia, 11 at South Carolina, 11 against Tennessee at Rupp, 10 at Texas A&M and 13 against Alabama. UK is 7-0 in those games.

Jamal Murray is 19-of-33 from three-point range over his last four games. After going just two-of-16 on the season, Alex Poythress doubled his career-high by making four threes against Alabama. Tyler Ulis, who had not been shooting well of late, hit back-to-back three-pointers in the second half.

10. This is Georgia’s third straight trip to an SEC Tournament semifinal. Meanwhile, Kentucky is 39-2 in SEC Tournament semifinals.

Kentucky-Georgia last 10 meetings

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Dec

1/8/11

@Georgia

70

77

L

1/29/11

Georgia

66

60

W

1/24/12

@Georgia

57

44

W

3/1/12

Georgia

79

49

W

3/7/13

@Georgia

62

72

L

1/25/14

Georgia

79

54

W

3/15/14

vsGeorgia (sec)

70

58

W

2/3/15

Georgia

69

58

W

3/3/15

@Georgia

72

64

W

2/9/16

Georgia

82

48

W

Kentucky vs. Georgia in SEC Tournament

When: Saturday, 3:25 p.m. (approximate)

Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville

TV: ESPN Network with Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale and Shannon Spake

Radio: UK Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments