'Cats Cruise Past Georgia 76-55

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Patrick Sparks scored 15 points against his former coach and No. 9 Kentucky cruised to a 76-55 victory over Georgia on Saturday.

Chuck Hayes added 13 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky (12-2, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), which led by as many as 30 points before taking it easy on the Bulldogs down the stretch.

Georgia (6-8) dropped to 0-4 in the SEC for the first time since 1998, when the Bulldogs opened league play with five straight losses.

Kentucky's dominance was most evident on the boards, where the Wildcats held a staggering 44-18 rebounding edge. Georgia didn't have anyone with more than three rebounds.

Sparks began his career at Western Kentucky, playing for Dennis Felton. After the coach moved to Georgia, Sparks transferred to Kentucky, his choice of schools all along. After sitting out a year, he claimed a spot in the Wildcats' lineup with his passing and outside shooting.

In addition to leading his team in scoring, Sparks also had a game-high five assists.

Hayes, a senior, surpassed 1,000 points in his career, finishing the day with 1,006. Freshman Ramel Bradley chipped in with 14 points for the Wildcats, who shot 56 percent (30-of-54) from the field.

Georgia kept it fairly respectable in the first half, going to the locker room with a 35-23 deficit. But the Wildcats began to blow it open early in the second half, dunking at will against the outmanned Bulldogs.

During a 17-2 spurt that turned it into a full-fledged rout, Kentucky scored 10 points on dunks. Sparks set up a couple of slams with perfectly placed lob passes, and 7-foot-3 sophomore Shagari Alleyne barely had to jump on a jam that made it 57-31.

Georgia had only six scholarship players in uniform, its plight epitomized when four walk-ons were on the court for a short stretch in the first half. While those talent-deprived players managed to do a decent job at the defensive end, they had little hope of scoring against the taller, quicker Wildcats.

Kentucky led all the way, building a 12-2 lead just 5 minutes into the game. From that early deficit, the Bulldogs never got any closer than seven the rest of the way.

The Wildcats' biggest lead was 68-38.

Amazingly, Georgia swept the season series a year ago, winning at home and at Rupp Arena. But, after losing four seniors from that team, the big question around Athens is whether the Bulldogs can win an SEC game this season.

They played respectably in losses to Tennessee and Mississippi, but the other two conference games have been ugly: a 20-point defeat at South Carolina and the expected blowout by the Wildcats.

Kentucky improved its lead in the series against Georgia to a staggering 103-21.

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