Cats Take Care of Bulldogs, 60-51

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Chuck Hayes and Patrick Sparks each scored 14 points and No. 5 Kentucky held off a late run by undermanned Georgia for a 60-51 victory on Saturday.

Kentucky (19-2, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) led by as many as 21 points in the second half, but Georgia (7-14, 1-10) rallied within 55-50 with 2 minutes left and came up empty on two other chances to further cut into the margin.

Rajon Rondo made a 5-foot jumper and Kelenna Azubuike went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final 26 seconds to seal Kentucky's ninth straight win since a loss to No. 3 Kansas.

Georgia, which started four freshmen and a sophomore and played without injured leading scorer Levi Stukes, lost its sixth straight. The Bulldogs outrebounded Kentucky 37-29, but committed 18 turnovers and made only 10 of 22 free throws.

Georgia jumped to a quick six-point lead, and with the Bulldogs ahead 9-5, Kentucky coach Tubby Smith benched all his starters just over 4 minutes into the game. By the time the last three of them returned to the court at the 6:13 mark, Kentucky led 21-11.

Kentucky extended its lead to 13 points, but Georgia whittled it to six before Sparks nailed a 3-pointer in front of Georgia coach Dennis Felton as time expired in the half, giving the Wildcats a 29-20 lead.

Felton, who coached Sparks at Western Kentucky before the coach took the Georgia job and Sparks transferred to Kentucky, stomped off the floor in disgust.

An 11-1 run to start the second half pushed Kentucky's lead to 40-21, and the Wildcats led 46-25 with 12 minutes left before Georgia rallied again.

Consecutive 3-pointers by walk-on Jay McAuley pulled the Bulldogs within 51-40, and a basket by Dave Bliss made it 55-50. But that was Georgia's last field goal.

Kentucky led 57-51 when Georgia's Kevin Brophy missed a 3-point attempt. Georgia rebounded, but Hayes blocked a driving shot attempt by Sundiata Gaines.

Gaines, a 6-foot-1 guard, had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Georgia, but finished 4-of-18 from the field. Bliss added 11 points for the Bulldogs.

Despite a 6-of-8 shooting effort from Hayes, Kentucky shot 43.8 percent from the field and 59.1 percent from the line, making only 13 of 22 free throws.


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