By Oscar C. Woodall Jr.
LEXINGTON, KY. – After upsetting 11th-ranked Florida 76-62 days earlier, the unranked Georgia Bulldogs were no match for the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, losing 79-49 on March 1 in NCAA basketball action.
Heading into the SEC tournament at New Orleans Arena, March 8-11, Georgia is seeded 11th after defeating South Carolina, 67-55, on Feb. 25, and is slated to face eighth-seeded Mississippi State. The Bulldogs must, however, win the conference championship to earn a NCAA tournament berth.
On Senior Night in Lexington, senior Darius “Super Sub” Miller led Kentucky in scoring with 17 points as he made 5-of-9 3-pointers. In fact Kentucky made 15-of-27 shots from outside the perimeter, shooting just over 49 percent from the floor, while holding Georgia to 33 percent from the field.
“They shot the ball extremely well from the three. They’ll be hard to beat when they shoot the ball like that, no matter who they’re playing,” said Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox.
“Darius Miller is a great player. … I think he’s a real key to their team, I really do.”
Georgia used a combination of zone defenses against Kentucky, as they tried to win their second consecutive game, get their seventh win in the Fox era versus a top 25 opponent, and avenge an early season loss to Kentucky.
The Bulldogs were also looking to blemish Kentucky head coach John Calipari’s perfect 51-0 record at Rupp Arena – the longest winning streak in the venue’s history – while also stopping Kentucky’s 52 home-game winning streak which is the longest active streak in the nation, dating back to their last game (the 2009 NIT) at Memorial Coliseum.
But unlike their last game against Kentucky, those defensive sets did nothing to slow the Wildcats. Georgia seemed to be in shock as Kentucky began toying with the Bulldogs. Kentucky hit on all cylinders, from all parts of the floor – the baseline, beyond the three-point arc, and the foul line.
“We ‘zoned’ them in Game One, and held them under 60 points and they were prepared for it this time. It felt like the zone the first game was really effective. It certainly wasn’t as effective this game,” Fox continued. “They just overwhelmed us.”
Two other Wildcats scored in double figures. Doron Lamb booked 13 points and Michael Kidd- Gilchrist logged 12, while teammate Anthony Davis led all players with eight rebounds.
Donte′ Williams led Georgia with 17 points and six rebounds to go with his two blocked shots, while teammate Marcus Thornton also recorded six and three blocks.