Kentucky guts one out on the road, 63-58

The Kentucky Wildcats won an SEC road game for the first time since February 3, 2007 behind Joe Crawford's game high 26 points. It was not an easy task for the Wildcats as lead guard Ramel Bradley suffered a concussion at the 8:44 mark of the first half and was unable to continue.

Kentucky ventured to Athens, Ga and defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 63-58, winning on the road for the first time this season.

Things were looking bleak for the Wildcats at the 5:19 mark in the second-half, when a Sundiata Gaines basket gave Georgia a 54-53 lead. There were a lot of things going against Billy Gillispie's Wildcats. Kentucky was winless on the road for the season. Gillispie's Cats were more than a little banged up.

The squad had faced adversity all season due to injuries, but the injury list at that point had to make the most optimistic Kentucky supporter shake their head. Sophomore wing guard Jodie Meeks was unable to play at all against the Bulldogs, due to the strained flexor muscle that has plagued him since the Louisville game. Senior lead guard Ramel Bradley was knocked out of the game at the 8:44 mark in the first half. Bradley was fouled hard on a drive to the basket and receiving a cut on his chin. The initial diagnosis for Bradley was a possible concussion, a diagnosis that was confirmed after the game by the Kentucky coach. Senior wing guard Joe Crawford was playing, but ailing. Crawford's plantar fasciitis problem had severely limited him in practice since the Tennessee game, could the Cats keep him in the game?

Crawford answered the shot by games, as he hit a three-point basket to put the Cats back into the lead, 56-54. The three was Crawford's fifth on the day, and would be his last, as he left the game at the 4:28 mark with cramps, and would not return.

With the bulk of the Kentucky offense out of action the Cats would have to gut this one out. Kentucky's defense went to work. Georgia's offense was stymied, as they missed on their next five field goal attempts.

The Cats stretched their two-point lead to four at the 2:40 mark, when freshman power forward Patrick Patterson fed Ramon Harris for a layup.

Gaines marched to the free throw line with 2:25 remaining. Gaines hit his first attempt, but missed the second. The Kentucky lead was 58-55.

The Kentucky offense sputtered, forcing Gillispie to call a timeout at the 2:00 mark. The possession could be crucial; a Kentucky score would push the lead to two possessions. With eleven seconds on the shot clock Kentucky wanted to get a good look at the basket, instead Georgia forced Harris into taking a jump shot that misfired.

Leading by three the Kentucky defense dug in. Georgia's first shot attempt of the possession was blocked by Perry Stevenson, and appeared to bounce off the chest of Gaines and out of bounds. The officials ruled the ball was off Kentucky, and awarded the ball to the Dawgs. Georgia had a second opportunity to cut into the Kentucky lead.

The Bulldogs probed the Kentucky defense, looking for an opening. A Michael Porter steal off Terrance Woodbury gave the ball back to Kentucky. With under a minute to go Derrick Jasper fed Patterson for a dunk. Kentucky's lead was five, 60-55.

After Dennis Felton called timeout Georgia's Billy Humphrey missed a three-point attempt that would have cut the lead to two. When Kentucky rebounded the ball the Bulldogs were forced to foul. Zac Swansey fouled Michael Porter with 33 seconds remaining. Porter hit the first, missed the second. The Kentucky lead was six, 61-55.

Six seconds later a Troy Brewer three cut the lead in half, 61-58.

Georgia again looked to foul when they failed to steal the ball on the inbounds play. Perry Stevenson was fouled by Brewer. Stevenson walked to the line and calmly drilled both shots, as the ball found nothing except the bottom of the net. The Kentucky lead had stretched back to five, 63-58.

The final eleven seconds saw two missed free throws by Kentucky's Stevenson sandwiched by five missed field goal opportunities by Georgia.

Crawford scored a game high 26 points for the Cats. Patterson added 16, and Harris chipped in a career high 9 for the visitors. Derrick Jasper tied Patterson with a team high six rebounds.

Georgia's Gaines had a team high 15 points. Woodbury and Dave Bliss joined Gaines in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. Bliss had a game high 8 boards for the Bulldogs.

Kentucky set a season low with eight turnovers.

Bradley was held scoreless after hitting for 20 points or more in seven of his last eight games.

Kentucky improved to 10-9 overall, and is now 4-2 in the SEC's Eastern Division. Georgia fell to 11-8 overall, and is now 2-4 in the SEC East.


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