NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A victory was probably needed, and failing that, at least a good showing. Georgia got neither.
Georgia, and its best two players, failed the eye test Friday and was eliminated from the SEC tournament, and likely consideration for the NCAA tournament. Its stars struggled, and its offense didn’t’ show up in a 71-60 loss to Kentucky in the SEC quarterfinals.
It’s now probably a trip to the NIT for Georgia (19-14), barring a surprise from the NCAA selection committee.
While the first two Kentucky games came down to the wire – Georgia led by two in the final minute both times – this one was a runaway almost from the start.
It was the third time in the past four years that Georgia’s SEC tournament run ended against Kentucky. The previous two times were in the SEC semifinals. (Georgia also saw its run of three straight SEC semifinal appearances end.)
– Player of the game: Not much to choose from for Georgia, but sophomore center Derek Ogbeide did have another big game on the glass, hauling in 15 rebounds in just 22 minutes. He only had four points before fouling out with 3:46 left. The 15 rebounds tied a season-high for Ogbeide.
– Stat line of the game: The shooting percentage for Georgia’s two stars. J.J. Frazier was 4-for-17 from the field, while Yante Maten was 3-for-11. Frazier’s first points didn’t come until there was 4:16 left in the first half, and Maten’s first field goal didn’t come until early in the second half.
– Turning point: The start of both halfs. Kentucky jumped out to an 8-2 lead and led by as many as 12. Then Tyree Crump sunk a 3 – Georgia’s first of the game – with 10 seconds left in the first half, the Bulldogs only trailed by five. But Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe answered on the other end with a long jumper heading into halftime. That turned out to start an 8-0 run, as Kentucky scored the first seven points of the second half to extend it to 13.
– What’s next: Georgia returns to Athens to await its fate. It will argue that it’s deserving of an NCAA bid, thanks to its strength of schedule, other computer metrics and lack of bad losses. But without enough big wins, national bracket experts have projected that Georgia will be NIT bound. In that case, Georgia would most likely host a game at Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday or Wednesday night.