Kentucky teaches Dawgs a lesson

ATHENS — Georgia beat Kentucky two out of three times last year, but the Wildcats gave the Bulldogs a history lesson Saturday.

Not just back to the days when Kentucky seldom lost to Georgia, but all the way back to the Christians versus the lions.

The Bulldogs played the part of the Christians, fighting and losing an uphill battle 76-55 to the No. 9 Wildcats in front of a season-high 9,014 fans in Stegeman Coliseum.

The lions weren't at the top of their game, but it didn't matter against the Bulldogs (6-8, 0-4 in SEC), who've played most of the season with just six scholarship players, only a couple of whom would merit financial aid at Kentucky (12-2, 3-0). The Wildcats now have won 103 of these 124 meetings between the schools.

"They're a good team, but we felt we could come out and give them a challenge," Georgia freshman Sundiata Gaines said. "We gave them a challenge, but we let down."

Kentucky committed a season-worst 19 turnovers allowing Georgia to keep it close for a while. The Wildcats led just 35-23 at halftime but had extended the margin to 26 points in the second half when 7-foot-2 center Shagari Alleyne scored with 12:37 left to put Kentucky up 57-31. The Wildcats led by as many as 30 later.

UK shot 55.6 percent for the game, including 70 percent in the first half, and outrebounded Georgia 44-18. The rebounding disparity bothered Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton the most.

"They're probably the biggest team in the country, but we've still got to find a way to do better than that," he said. "I was very disappointed to be dominated that way on the glass."

Georgia lost its fifth straight game and fell to 0-4 in the conference for the first time since 1998. The '98 team lost its first five SEC games before getting a win, a mark of futility this year's team seems sure to top.

The Bulldogs are off before playing Vanderbilt at home Saturday. They then have games at Florida and at Alabama.

Asked if he'd ever seen an SEC team as outmanned as these Bulldogs, Kentucky forward Chuck Hayes said, "No, but they're going through a process of rebuilding. That's going to happen."

The Bulldogs' lone bright spot was freshman forward Younes Idrissi. The rail-thin, 6-7 Moroccan played the most aggressive game of his career and scored a career-high eight points. He also added three rebounds in 14 minutes.

"It's obvious to everyone who sees him that he has talent and athleticism," Felton said. "His biggest obstacle is experience and the strength factor. He could make so many more plays if he was stronger, but he's coming along. He got some valuable experience tonight."

Idrissi hadn't scored more than five points since the season-opener.

"I didn't want to lose anymore," he said. "I think next time we're going to get these guys."

Kentucky had three players in double figures led by junior guard at Western Kentucky. Sparks had 15 points and five assists. He and Felton had a warm reunion before the game but the fuzzy feelings ended at the tip.

"I almost didn't notice it that it was Patrick out there," he said. "I'm so lost in the competition. I could've barely told you Patrick was out there playing once the game started."

Hayes, whom Felton called "as smart as any player in the country," had 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

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