ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia sounded the potential death knell on Kentucky's fading NCAA Tournament hopes Thursday with a 72-62 win over the Wildcats.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a game high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs (15-15, 9-8 SEC) to victory on Senior Night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs shot only 36 percent from the field, but were 7-for-15 from beyond the 3-point arc and cashed in on 27 of 34 (79 percent) of their free throw attempts. UGA also got 12 points from Nemanja Djurisic and 10 from Donte Williams.
Kentucky (20-10, 11-6 SEC) still has an opportunity to make a strong impression in its season finale at home against No. 11 Florida on Saturday, but the Wildcats were mostly non-competitive in a 69-52 loss to the Gators on Feb. 12 in Gainesville, Fla.
The Wildcats shot 37 percent from the field and missed 20 of their 26 3-point attempts. They also went 10 of 18 at the free throw line in a stark contrast from Georgia's winning formula.
Kentucky trailed 31-26 at halftime and 50-40 midway through the second half, but went on a 7-0 run on baskets by Archie Goodwin, Ryan Harrow and Kyle Wiltjer to trim the deficit to three at the 7:45 mark. But UGA responded with a 12-0 run of its own to regain total control. Caldwell-Pope had six points in the key run.
"When it got to that time where we're right there, we break down again," UK head coach John Calipari said. "... The lack of disciplined killed us again. It's my fault. I must have accepted this because this team just doesn't have the toughness to finish games off."
Georgia made 14 consecutive free throws at one point down the stretch and missed only one field goal and two free throws over the final 6:42.
Goodwin led UK with 20 points. Wiltjer (12), Harrow (11) and Willie Cauley-Stein (10) also reached double figures for the Cats, but Julius Mays, who was held to three points last Saturday at Arkansas, was scoreless against Georgia. Alex Poythress had just four points before fouling out.
"We need guys to step up and try to take over games," Calipari said. "We don't have that right now. But this all goes away if we beat Florida Saturday. We got 36 hours to turn it around."
* UK leads the all-time series with Georgia 115-26, but dropped to 40-17 in Athens. The Wildcats had won 14 of the last 19 meetings.
* UK dropped to 2-9 on the season when trailing at the half.
* UK will honor seniors Twany Beckham and Julius Mays on Saturday prior to the Florida game.
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