Kentucky tops Georgia, 78-69, in Athens

Posted at 10:00 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 00:38:13-05

ATHENS, Ga. (Lex 18) — Kentucky erased a six-point halftime deficit to top Georgia, 78-69, in Athens on Tuesday night.

Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards led the Wildcats with 17 points each. Maxey also dished out a game-high eight assists. Immanuel Quickley poured in 15 points while Ashton Hagans, who left last Saturday's game against Missouri with an ankle injury, poured in 13 points in the win.

It was the first true road game of the season for the Wildcats, who improved to 11-3 (2-0 SEC). The loss drops Georgia to 10-4 (0-1 SEC).

Kentucky, who entered the game first in the SEC in free throw percentage (80.1%), overcame it's worst performance from the charity strike in the win. The Wildcats shot just 10-20 (50%).

Anthony Edwards, who entered the game 3rd in the SEC with 18.4 points per game, led the Bulldogs with 23 points. The freshman standout drilled two early shots to give the Bulldogs an early 5-0 lead. The Wildcats responded with a 10-0 run, highlighted by a dunk and a jumper from Richards, to flip the five-point deficit.

The Bulldogs took the lead back at 13-12 on a jumper from Jordan Harris before Tyree Crump's 3-pointer a few moments later pushed the Bulldogs' lead to four points at the 11:18 mark of the first half.

Hagans tied the game at 16 with a jumper. From that point on, both teams traded buckets until an 8-0 Bulldog run gave Georgia a 37-28 lead with eleven seconds to play in the first half.

Hagans drilled a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make Kentucky's halftime deficit just six points.

With Kentucky trailing 57-53 with 8:42 to play, Sestina capitalized on a fast break layup before a 3-pointer from Immanuel Quickley gave the Wildcats their first lead since the 8:06 mark of the first half. After a defensive stop, Maxey capitalized on a double clutch layup before an old-fashioned 3-point play from Richards gave the Wildcats a 63-57 lead with 7:10 to play.

After a pair of Bulldog buckets cut the Wildcats' lead to two points, Quickley drilled his third 3-pointer of the night to push Kentucky's lead back to five points with 3:56 to play.

From that point forward, Georgia never got back within one possession as the Wildcats held on for the nine-point victory.

Kentucky will look to move to 3-0 in SEC play on Saturday when it hosts Alabama (7-6, 0-1 SEC) at Rupp Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET. The game can be streamed on ESPN.