Georgia stumbles at Kentucky
ATHENS, Ga. –Sophomore forward Yante Maten recorded his sixth double-double of the season, and second in a row, with 16 points and 11 rebounds as Georgia (13-9, 6-5) fell on the road to No. 22 Kentucky (18-6, 8-3) by a final score of 82-48 on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
The Bulldogs never got comfortable offensively in the contest, shooting a season-low .220 clip from the field and having only one player reach the double-digit scoring plateau. The visiting team did perform well from the charity stripe, hitting 23 of 27 free throws in the contest for an 85.2-percent conversion rate. Kentucky also puzzled Georgia on the other end of the floor as the Wildcats put up 82 points on 51.8-percent shooting from the field.
“It was a very tough night,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “We didn’t play well. Kentucky’s a very good team. We folded at the end of the first half and never threatened afterwards. We didn’t do the things we needed to do anywhere close to the way we needed to do them to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Georgia started strong on the offensive end, with Maten cashing in for four quick points as the Bulldogs claimed a 4-2 lead in the early running. The Wildcats punched back quickly and effectively, using a hot shooting start to spark a 20-9 run and take a sizeable nine-point lead before the halfway point in the first half.
The Georgia defense then clamped down, holding Kentucky scoreless for more than six minutes, but the Bulldogs were only able to cut the lead to six before the Wildcats got back on the board to claim a 26-18 lead.
Kentucky took control of the game in the later stages of the first half as Georgia sputtered on the offensive end, failing to make a field goal in the final 13:36 of the opening frame. The Wildcats closed the half on an 18-6 run, and the teams head to the locker room with the home squad leading 42-24.
Kentucky started fast in the second half, using a 10-0 run to increase the distance between the teams. A driving layup by Mann broke the skid as well as ended the Bulldogs’ cold stretch from the field, and Maten sunk a layup soon after to reach double-digit scoring.
Georgia struggled to dent the Wildcat lead, though, as the home team settled in to its comfortable cushion, coasting to a 82-48 victory.
The Bulldogs will next head to Mississippi State for a Saturday night showdown. For all the latest on Georgia basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@UGABasketball) and on Instagram (@ugabasketball), and keep checking in to georgiadogs.com.
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
“Obviously we got whooped at both ends. Our inability to get a stop forced us to play against that defense all night. We had a hard time scoring because we got no easy baskets. We were getting to the foul line but we just collapsed at the end of the half and never made a run after that.”
On if Kentucky’s offense was the reason for their poor defense tonight…
“Our defense was very, very disappointing today. You have to give them credit for making open shots. When you’re wide open and you’re a good player, like them (Kentucky) they have really good players, and they’re wide open, they’re going to make them. They were wide open and so our defense was super disappointing.”
On if this Kentucky team has figured things out over the past couple games…
“I’m not sure. You would have to ask John (Calipari) that question. I think they’re playing their very best basketball. We thought they played very good against Florida and obviously today they were much better than us. I just can’t give you an evaluation more than tonight’s game.”
On their turnover struggles tonight…
“I was disappointed in our guard play today, quite frankly. Obviously when you don’t play well in the backcourt you’re not going to finish or get opportunities to finish. Kentucky is a team that if they’re playing off the turnovers or bad shots, they’re great in transition. And we gave them lots of opportunities to do that.”
On the reason for the 22 straight shots that didn’t fall in…
“There were some bad shots in there. There were some good shots in there. There were a couple great shots in there that just didn’t go down. It just snowballed on us and we could never recover.”
On if he knows what kind of team he has…
“I think I know what kind of team I have. I think I know what kind of team we have. I think we’ve known all along that this team would be a team we hope would keep getting better over the year. Tonight was the night where we should some of the deficiencies we still have. We have to play very mistake-free basketball to have a chance to win any night. Tonight we didn’t do that.”
#12, Kenny Gaines, G
On UK’s ability to make shots and control the game…
“They shot the ball well. They scored and we went on a, I think it was about a 13-minute period where we couldn’t score. Whenever you go through an offensive drought and the other team is scoring, it just makes the deficit that much bigger to get over. So, have to give them credit for making those shots. ”
On their scoring drought…
“It’s pretty hard. I think the only team that has done it against Kentucky is Tennessee. So, obviously they figured it out. We had a little harder time trying to do so. Like I said, just have to give Kentucky credit for playing well. ”
#1, Yante Maten, F
On Georgia’s game plan entering tonight…
“Play our type of basketball. It really hurt us because we weren’t finishing plays. As you said, they are long and athletic, but that’s always been Kentucky. We weren’t finishing, or making the right decision, when it came down to scoring and they got out in the fast break.”
On Georgia’s offensive struggles…
“Offensively, we were playing out of rhythm. Our chemistry, I don’t think it was there as it usually is on a night-to-night basis.”
On regrouping for the game against Mississippi State…
“We need to get back on a mission. This definitely could send us in the wrong direction, or it could bring us all together and we need to make sure it brings us together.”