Cats edge Bulldogs, 61-55

Like many games that Dennis Felton's Georgia Bulldogs have played this season the game with the Kentucky Wildcats was a defensive struggle. Unlike most games that Sundiata Gaines has had of late the game against Kentucky was an offensive struggle for the Georgia guard. The Kentucky defenders held Gaines to 10 points, as the Wildcats edged the Bulldogs 61-55.

The Kentucky Wildcats once again showed their mental and physical toughness down the stretch in winning a close game over the Georgia Bulldogs 61-55 at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky's defense of Sundiata Gaines was tremendous. The senior guard had been ripping up SEC competition lately, piling up 20 point games seemingly at will. The stingy Kentucky defense held Gaines to ten points, on 4-14 field goals.

With the score 55-49 Gaines pulled Georgia to within one possession when he sliced the lead in half by hitting a three-pointer with Derrick Jasper flying at him. The lead was three, at 55-52. After empty trips by both teams Kentucky was on the verge of being stymied when the Bulldogs knocked the ball out of bounds with 1 second on the shot clock. Georgia forced a Patrick Patterson rushed three from the corner, which bounced off the rim. It appeared that Georgia had gotten the crucial defensive stop. Ramel Bradley had other plans. The senior guard extended fully to snare the ball as it ricocheted off the rim, and then converted the put back attempt to push the lead to 57-52, 3:22 remained to play.

Over the next three minutes neither team scored. Kentucky's defense rose to the occasion, and forced Georgia to misfire by challenging and blocking shots, then coming up with the rebounds and lose balls. On the offensive the Wildcats missed shots against the stingy Georgia defense. The final 20-seconds featured a comparative scoring flurry. Georgia was forced to foul, and the Wildcats hit their four free throws sandwiched around a Zac Swansey pull up three-pointer to close out the scoring.

The game began much differently than it would end. The Wildcats jumped on the Georgia Bulldogs early, as they came out on fire and jumped out to a 20-4 lead in the early going. Joe Crawford was blistering the nets, and hit his first three shots from behind the arc.

After Kentucky took the early 16 point lead Georgia went to work, and carved into the lead. With 1:30 to play in the half Kentucky's lead was three points, 33-30, and the Bulldogs had possession of the ball. Gaines missed a jumper and fouled Ramon Harris. Harris converted both charity tosses to stretch the lead back to five. Harris then forced a Gaines turnover with a theft and Bradley for a fastbreak layup to push the lead back to seven. In a matter of moments the promising end of the half had turned sour for the Bulldogs and they trailed at the half, 37-30.

Kentucky was led in scoring by Crawford's 23 points. Patterson added 20 points and 8 rebounds, just missing a double-double. Bradley had an off night offensively and was held to just 8 points. The kid from New York City did lead the Cats on the boards snaring 12 rebounds.

The Wildcats took good care of the basketball, turning the ball over just eight times. This matched a season low for turnovers.

Georgia was led in scoring by Terrance Woodbury with 15. Dave Bliss added 11 for the Bulldogs.

The win improves the Wildcats to 14-10 overall, and 8-3 in the SEC. The loss drops Georgia to 11-12 and 3-8.


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