Kentucky advanced to the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinals with a 62-49 win over Georgia on Friday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The victory marks the third straight year UK has eliminated Georgia from the event.
No. 4 seed Kentucky (22-10) advances to face No. 9 seed Alabama (19-14). The Crimson Tide used a 20-1 explosion to open the second half to erase a 10-point deficit and eliminate No. 1 seed and SEC regular-season champion Auburn 81-63.
No. 12 seed Georgia (18-15), which defeated Vanderbilt and upset No. 5 seed Missouri as part of playing three games in three days, must now wait until Sunday to learn its NCAA Tournament fate.
Freshman forward PJ Washington paced Kentucky’s win with 18 points, hitting 8 of 12 shots to go with a team-best seven rebounds.
Freshman forward Kevin Knox and freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 15 points each.
As a team, UK shot 42.6 percent to go with 39 rebounds, 14 assists and just five turnovers, as Kentucky led by as many as 17 points five minutes into the second half.
Georgia was led by Tyree Crump, who came off the bench for 17 points. Star forward Yante Maten was held to nine points on 2-of-10 shooting.
As a team, Georgia shot just 28.3 percent. The Bulldogs had 42 rebounds, five assists and 11 turnovers.
The Bulldogs scored the first basket of the game on a William Jackson II jumper and never led from that point on. The Wildcats scored the next eight points and were able to maintain the advantage, opening their biggest lead when a Washington layup led to a 30-23 advantage entering halftime.
Kentucky won the game despite missing its best rebounder, Jarred Vanderbilt, who had already missed the first 17 games to start the season with a foot injury. The freshman forward played the final 14 games before suffering a sprained ankle during a Tuesday practice in Lexington.
Coach John Calipari said he was uncertain if Vanderbilt would play at all this weekend in St. Louis.
—Field Level Media