LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Jamal Murray scored 24 points, Tyler Ulis added 14 and No. 22 Kentucky held Georgia to a season-low 22 percent shooting to coast to an 82-48 victory Tuesday night.
Picking up where he left off after a career-best 35 points on Saturday against Florida, Murray made 8 of 14 from the field including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. His accuracy helped spur the Wildcats (18-6, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) to 52 percent shooting and a surprisingly easy win over a Bulldogs team that entered as the nation’s No. 6 team and SEC leader in field goal defense.
Georgia (13-9, 6-5) just couldn’t make shots as its two-game winning streak ended.
The Bulldogs closed the first half on a 0-for-17 drought and weren’t much better in the second half as they trailed by 37 points in the final minutes.
Yante Maten’s 16 points led the Bulldogs.
Derek Willis (Arapaho Tribe) made three 3-pointers for 11 points for Kentucky, which won its second straight since blowing a 21-point lead in a loss at Tennessee. The Wildcats were more dominant than Saturday’s bounce-back rout of Florida, even though they were outrebounded 36-34. They did gain a 24-20 edge on the defensive glass.
Despite playing a second straight game with forward Alex Poythress sidelined by a knee injury, the Wildcats topped Georgia 28-14 in the paint and 22-11 in bench points.
Most importantly, Kentucky kept Georgia’s lineup with four double-digit scorers from getting started.
The Wildcats sandwiched a hot start and finish around a 5 1/2-minute drought to lead 42-24, closing the first half on a 16-4 run over 3:47. Even with the lull, Kentucky was 17 of 30 (57 percent) with Murray and Willis combining to make five of its 10 3-point attempts.
Georgia on the other hand struggled after a 5-of-8 start from the field, missing its final 17 attempts of the half to finish at 20 percent and managing just four free throws over the final 7 1/2 minutes. In fact, the Bulldogs’ 13 free throws were two points more than they got from the field.
Kentucky’s defense caused some of Georgia’s frustration but much of the damage was self-inflicted as the Bulldogs simply couldn’t hit a shot. Not even 10 offensive rebounds could help as they were outscored 20-6 in the paint.