It was Kentucky’s first game in the SEC tournament.
After dispatching Texas A&M with a buzzer-beating layup Thursday, Bama freshman guard Collin Sexton punished SEC champ Auburn with 31 points in an 81-63 quarterfinals victory Friday.
For Kentucky, avoiding an upset was the first step toward achieving success in the postseason.
Kentucky will likely be without Jarred Vanderbilt once again, as coach John Calipari made the announcement after the game. “(The) first game out is always hard, especially when the other team has played (in the tournament)”.
The key for the Kentucky basketball team is creating turnovers and limiting second-chance opportunities. Vanderbilt watched while dressed in street clothes on the bench.
Kentucky led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but Georgia cut into the deficit with an 8-1 run.
“We had a lead, and we were trying to maintain it”, Maten said. “Jarred, what I saw today, he’s still limping”.
“We just didn’t play with a lot of authority in the low post today”.
PJ Washington led the Wildcats with 18 points and 7 rebounds.
“The synergy between the two when they play together is phenomenal”, said Lorenzo Romar, an assistant coach at Arizona who recruited the brothers to Washington and is a close family friend. Looking exhausted on both ends, and committing several unforced errors, Georgia watched Kentucky score the final eight points of the half and enter the locker room with all the momentum. Maten and Hightower led all scorers with 14 and 11 points, respectively, while also registering the most rebounds with five apiece. Even the up-and-down regular season, however, couldn’t keep away a Wildcats fan base that has celebrated 30 SEC Tournament titles in its history, including the last three straight. I expect to see more ball movement and better energy when the Wildcats take the floor Friday afternoon. I’m looking at a game when you’re up 5, and you want to shorten the game a little bit on somebody and make a dagger play.
The Georgia Bulldogs (18-14) are coming from a 62-60 win over Missouri in which Yante Maten had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs and Wildcats faced off this season in a New Year’s Eve date at Rupp Arena.
The official home team of the Southeastern Conference Tournament was eliminated Thursday when Georgia toppled Missouri.
P.J. Washington had a game-high 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting and seven rebounds in 35 minutes.
Kentucky’s game plan was to simply wear the Bulldogs down from start to finish.
“He had a pretty good game offensively”, Michael Porter Jr. said of his brother. “Let’s pressure them. Let’s do things to get into their legs.’ That was probably the biggest reason”. “That’s hard to do”. Georgia’s 28.3 shooting percentage could not match Kentucky’s efficient 42.6 percent clip from the field. “We got two for $20 yeah we’re happy”, said Daryl Miller, who is visiting St. Louis with his wife. But, for my money, Yante Maten is the most dominant player in the SEC.
LOUIS -Mark Fox and his Georgia players walked solemnly through the handshake line, the exuberance of a day before gone. Kentucky won the regular-season meeting against the Crimson Tide 81-71 on February 17 in Lexington, Ky., the start of a five-game losing streak for Alabama and a four-game winning streak for Kentucky.