- Saturday, February 14 2004 -
Kentucky - 68 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 8th by AP and 8th by ESPN/USA Today]
Georgia - 74 (Head Coach: Dennis Felton) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 31, Georgia 23
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|Alabama 66 - 55|||||Arkansas 73 - 56|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Matt May; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Georgia takes it to UK again, sweeps season series
ATHENS, Ga. Ð It's official, Georgia coach Dennis Felton officially has Kentucky's number.
Georgia, owner of just three Southeastern Conference victories, stuck it to UK (17-4, 7-3 SEC) again, physically intimidating the Cats in pulling away to a 74-68 victory before 10,523 fans at Stegeman Coliseum. The win completed Georgia's second season sweep in the last three seasons against UK and left Coach Tubby Smith fuming afterwards.
"One thing, we knew what to expect," Smith said. "We didn't respond. We didn't step up to the challenge. We didn't get anything from our inside people. It's disappointing."
Georgia (12-10, 4-7) used the same formula it employed when the Bulldogs ended UK's 21-game SEC winning streak on Jan. 17 Ð be physical, aggressive and "punk" the Cats. It worked to perfection, with most of UK's roster shrinking from challenge in the second half, when Georgia outscored UK 51-37.
"Dennis and his staff put together a good game plan," Smith said. "It's worked every time."
Much like the first meeting, the foul-marred game was chippy from the beginning. UK got off to a much better start this time around, but weren't able to get the ball inside or hold onto it at any point. Perhaps carry over from the shoving match in Rupp after a hard Georgia foul, UK was whistled for an intentional foul in the first half and then the teams traded two sets of technical fouls in the second half.
While UK was busy jawing with the Bulldogs, UGA was slowly forging ahead and pulling away. A 13-2 run moments into the second half erased an eight-point deficit and gave UGA the lead at 36-35. UK responded and the first double technical foul to go back ahead 43-40 with 11:51 left, but that was the last good thing that happened for the Cats.
Georgia point guard Rashad Wright made a wide open three from the corner (his only make in 14 attempts from the field) to tie it at 43, then freshman Marcus Sikes hit three free throws after being hit on a three-point attempt to give UGA the lead for good. By the time the spurt was over, Georgia led 55-48 with 7:06 left.
But UK still had its chances the final five minutes. Chuck Hayes made two free throws to close the deficit to 55-53, then nearly had a steal in the backcourt. After Steve Newman made one free throw, Hayes missed two free throws that would have made it a one-point game, then Antwain Barbour threw away an easy pass on the wing.
Any chance UK had to come back in the final moments was gone as Hayes missed two lay-ups, Barbour missed a drive and Cliff Hawkins airballed a three-pointer.
"We can't win when Chuck Hayes is missing lay-ups like that," Smith said. "You can't get any closer. You steal the ball and miss one. You miss free throws. Ridiculous."
At least two Cats showed up according to Smith though. Kelenna Azubuike had a career-high 23 points to go with six rebounds, while walk-on Ravi Moss buried three of four three-pointers to keep UK in the game.
Jonas Hayes had 19 points and six rebounds for Georgia, while Wright added 14 points and Damien Wilkins had 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
Erik Daniels grabs a rebound in front of UGa's Chris Daniels
Chuck Hayes and Rashad Wright scramble for the ball