Kentucky drops Georgia, 70-58, moves to SEC final

ATLANTA (AP) - Aaron Harrison scored 22 points and Kentucky took a methodical 70-58 win over Georgia on Saturday to advance to another Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.

Kentucky will play No. 1 Florida in Sunday's championship game, creating the attractive matchup of the tournament's two top seeds. Florida beat Tennessee 56-49 in Saturday's first semifinal.

The Wildcats improved their record of dominance in SEC semifinals to 38-2.

James Young had 14 points and Julius Randle had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky (24-9), which never trailed but led only 36-32 at halftime.

Kentucky's big lead was 16 points at 68-52.

Kenny Gaines had 13 points, all in the second half, and Charles Mann had 12 for Georgia (19-13), which now likely will wait for a NIT bid.

Kentucky has enjoyed the SEC tournament in "Catlanta" and the Georgia Dome. The Wildcats have won six tournament championships in Atlanta.

Overall, Kentucky has 27 SEC tournament titles.

Andrew Harrison had 12 points and nine assists for Kentucky.

Florida's undefeated regular-season run through the conference included a sweep of two games against Kentucky. Florida took an 84-65 home win over the Wildcats on March 8 to close the regular season.

Kentucky led only 41-39, following a driving basket by Gaines for his first points. Young made a short jumper from the baseline, Dakari Johnson stole a pass from Georgia's Brandon Morris, and Aaron Harrison sank a 3-pointer to push the Wildcats' lead to 46-39.

Gaines answered with a 3-pointer, but it wasn't enough to keep the Wildcats from claiming momentum. Young's tip-in pushed Kentucky's lead to 10 points at 53-43. Andrew Harrison's 3-pointer gave the Wildcats their biggest lead at 61-48.

Harrison had 16 points in the first half but Georgia stayed close, trailing 36-32 at halftime on Marcus Thornton's buzzer-beating layup. It was a rare strong inside move for the Bulldogs, whose attempts near the basket were often influenced by Kentucky's bigger front-line players, including two 7-footers, Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Kentucky forward Julius Randle, who grabbed nine rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Georgia was playing in its first SEC semifinal since 2008, the year a tornado hit downtown Atlanta and forced the tournament to move from the Georgia Dome to Georgia Tech's old Alexander-Memorial Coliseum. The Bulldogs beat Kentucky in the quarterfinals before winning the tournament.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.