ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WDRB) – Jarred Vanderbilt sat six seats from Kentucky coach John Calipari, dressed in a gray warm-up suit and bright blue sneakers.

There was no special boot on the ankle Vanderbilt sprained this week, an injury that forced the Wildcats’ most dynamic inside player to miss Kentucky’s SEC Tournament opener against Georgia at the Scottrade Center on Friday afternoon.

Did the Wildcats miss the guy who averaged 10 rebounds over the team’s last six games?

On the glass, yes. On the scoreboard, no.

Kentucky has had more trouble with the line at the drive-through window than the Wildcats had with Georgia. They defeated the Bulldogs for the 11th consecutive time (and third straight season in the SEC Tournament), 62-49

Vanderbilt was not available to rebound, but the rest of Calipari’s roster defended as well as they have in weeks.

The Bulldogs’ point total was their lowest this season and well below their season offensive average of nearly 69 point per game. Georgia made only 28.3 percent of its field-goal attempts.

Georgia missed 23 of its first 32 shots as Kentucky surged to a 41-26 lead early in the second half, forcing Georgia coach Mark Fox to call a pair of timeouts in the first 3 ½ minutes. The Wildcats limited Yante Maten, the SEC Player of the Year, to 9 points while missing eight of 10 shots.

Offensively, Kentucky was led by Kevin Knox (15 points), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (15) and P.J. Washington (18).

Kentucky will play Alabama Saturday at 1 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.

After dispatching Texas A&M with a buzzer-beating layup Thursday, Bama freshman guard Collin Sexton punished SEC champ Auburn with 31 points in an 81-63 quarterfinals victory Friday.

Kentucky defeated Alabama, 81-71, in Rupp Arena on Feb. 17.

The Crimson Tide lost their last five regular-season games, and they could be without forward Donta Hall, who missed most of the second half after flipping over an Auburn player and landing on his head. Alabama center Daniel Giddens only played one minute against Auburn before exiting with a knee injury.

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