Georgia basketball simply couldn’t keep up with Kentucky in an ESPN-televised matchup in Lexington on Tuesday night.
The No. 15-ranked Wildcats (14-4, 5-1 SEC) took down the Bulldogs (11-7, 1-4) by an 89-79 count. It was UK’s 14th straight win in the series and its second victory over UGA this season.
Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans, from Cartersville, Ga., led the Wildcats with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
Georgia junior Rayshaun Hammonds scored 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Hammonds gave Coach Tom Crean the type of road effort that was missing in a loss at Mississippi State on Saturday.
“We definitely competed, and that’s a hurting locker room right now,” Crean said on the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network. “We have to go through things to grow through things, but that team battled tonight.
“To battle the way we did tonight, in this environment, says a lot.”
Kentucky drew 20,135 to storied Rupp Arena, a place Georgia has not won at since 2009.
UGA sophomore Tye Fagan was a bright spot, scoring 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting in his 15 minutes on the floor.
But Kentucky simply had too much size and athleticism near the rim, outscoring UGA 46-30 in the paint.
UGA freshman Anthony Edwards scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, but it wasn’t one of his better games.
It was a case of too little, too late from Edwards, who had just one rebound and turned the ball over five times.
Edwards was held scoreless in the first half as Kentucky staked out to a 41-35 lead at intermission.
The Bulldogs, however, had their moments. Georgia used a 9-0 run to claim a 29-28 lead with 5:34 left in the first half.
Donnell Gresham Jr. sparked the burst with a 3-pointer and also capped it with a jumper that triggered a John Calipari timeout.
Kentucky responded with a 7-0 run of its own the first 78 seconds out of the timeout to reclaim control of the game.
Georgia held a surprising 19-17 advantage on the glass in the first half, but the smaller Bulldogs could not sustain that success.
UK out-rebounded Georgia 21-12 in the second half, even as Edwards awoke from his first half slumber.
Edwards finally scored two minutes into the second half after missing his first five shots in the game. The projected NBA draft lottery pick hit his next three shots, too, pulling the Bulldogs to 57-54 with 12:38 left.
It was as close as Georgia got the rest of the night.
Kentucky came back at the Bulldogs with a 12-2 run. The closest Georgia got after that was seven points.
Georgia freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler started and played 17 minutes. Wheeler, however, appeared to still be bothered by the ankle he injured last Wednesday in a win over Tennessee.
Wheeler was 0-for-3 shooting with just one assist.
The Wildcats won the first meeting between the teams by a 78-69 count in Athens on Jan. 7. Kentucky came back from nine points down in front of a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd in both team’s SEC opener.
Georgia returns to action at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs are 9-1 on their home court this season.
DawgNation Georgia Basketball