LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky seemed primed for a letdown, a game that might be considered to be one of those "trap" games against a Georgia team that always seems to give them trouble. The youthful Cats had responded to a loss against UCLA with likely their best effort of the season in dispatching rival Louisville 90-61 just two days prior. And they trailed much of New Year's Eve night in the SEC opener but rallied with big hoops and big stops in the second half to turn back the Bulldogs, 66-61.
UK (11-2, 1-0) made just 21 percent of its shots from the field in the first half and only 31 percent for the game (17-54). They made just 5-of-16 threes. But the visitors were just 2-of-21 from deep and the Wildcats made hay at the free throw line, hitting 27-of-38. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the heroes of Friday's win was again a key contributor off the bench. He made plays at both ends of the floor and finished with a game-high 21 points, including 12-of-13 from the free throw line.
Gilgeous-Alexander hit a three with 4:41 to go, giving the Wildcats the lead at 54-53. Wenyon Gabriel had 11 rebounds off the bench and hit two big threes in the second half, the second with just over a minute to go giving the Wildcats a 63-57 cushion.
Georgia (9-3, 1-0) was led by Yante Maten with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wildcats have their next two on the road. They travel to LSU Wednesday and Tennessee Saturday.
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