Georgia relinquished a chance to follow up a program win on the road against Memphis when it fell to No. 14 Kentucky on Tuesday. The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 37-31 lead and all the momentum, but in the second half, the Wildcats utilized their depth of talent and physical presence to outlast the Bulldogs 78-69.
Here are takeaways from The Red & Black:
NBA talent in attendance
Present and future NBA talent was on present at Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday. Besides Trae Young who’s already a bonafide star in his second year with the Atlanta Hawks, there were at least two players that could have their names called in June at the 2020 NBA Draft.
Multiple NBA team representatives were in attendance to watch the prospects battle on primetime. The Atlanta Hawks — who have the worst record in the NBA at 8-29 — were joined by the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors.
Of course, Georgia had Anthony Edwards, who was back to producing his normal scoring output after shooting 4-for-17 against Memphis on Jan. 4. Against the Wildcats, Edwards shot 8-for-17 from the field.
On the opposite side, Tyrese Maxey competed as he has in all crucial games for Kentucky. Maxey put up 17 points, but that was just the beginning. He added eight assists, seven rebounds and four blocks. He came up with clutch buckets that quieted rowdy Georgia fans on multiple occasions.
A tale of two halves
Prior to Tuesday, head coach Tom Crean talked about Kentucky’s superior physicality compared to any previous opponent that Georgia has faced this season. Georgia handled that presence well on both sides of the floor.
Georgia shot nine less free throws in its 65-62 win over Memphis. Against Kentucky, it was a complete turnaround. The Bulldogs shot 14 free throws in the first half alone, compared to Kentucky’s three attempts.
In the second half, the trend stayed the same. Georgia finished 16-for-23 from the line, while Kentucky was 10-for-20.
The Bulldogs were aggressive on offense, getting the likes of Nick Richards and Nate Sestina in foul trouble in the first half. It allowed for Georgia to take advantage of the battle down low and outrebound Kentucky in the first half 24-17.
The Wildcats caught up in the second half, eventually winning the rebound battle 38-35. Kentucky’s talent and gameplan outlasted the Bulldogs’ attempts at hindering the WIldcats.
Three who mattered
Anthony Edwards: The star freshman didn’t set a new career-high in points, but he finished with a solid 22 points, eight rebounds and an overall complete performance. He added to his stats with great defense of Kentucky’s guards and countless plays that got the crowd involved.
Jordan Harris: The spark he brought off the bench was much needed for the Bulldogs. He finished with 10 points but used his athleticism to grab rebounds over Kentucky forwards and finish off dunks.
Tyrese Maxey: The Kentucky freshman had a strong performance. At every moment Georgia looked in control in the second half, Maxey would come up with a crucial bucket. He finished with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting.