Kentucky found itself down 12-0 and blew a late second-half lead but rallied behind guards Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe for a 90-81 overtime SEC home win over Georgia on Tuesday night.
The No. 8 Wildcats (18-4, 8-1) snapped their two-game losing streak as they played without freshman guard De’Aaron Fox, who sat out the game due to illness. Kentucky clearly missed Fox’s presence on both ends of the floor. Using a new starting lineup featuring Isaac Humphries that slid Derek Willis to the three, Kentucky didn’t get going until Monk started hitting shots.
The freshman erupted for 37 points as he got hot from the perimeter and went 7-for-11 from three-point range. It was yet another performance for Monk to add in his Player of the Year discussion, especially since Fox was out o the lineup on Tuesday. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe also had an outstanding overall floor game for the Wildcats as he just missed a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
One concerning thing about this win for Kentucky is the lack of help from anyone besides Briscoe and Monk. Without Fox on the floor, the Wildcats needed another scorer to help those two but nobody could really get going. Freshman big man Bam Adebayo (12 points) had a late three-point play and got going a bit in the second half and overtime but he was quiet for too long.
Georgia (13-9, 4-5) looked like they were going to capitalize on the Wildcats’ uninspired start but they eventually gave up that lead and found the game tied by halftime.
Junior forward Yante Maten continued to show that he’s one of the most underrated players in the country as he finished with 22 points. Senior guard J.J. Frazier (23 points) and big man Derek Ogbeide (career- high 18 points, 13 rebounds) also had solid games for the Bulldogs.
Georgia missed out on a golden opportunity to get a win that could put them in the NCAA tournament discussion since the bubble is so soft. The Bulldogs won against Texas over the weekend but they’ve now lost four of five SEC games. It doesn’t get any easier for Georgia from here as they have back-to-back games against ranked teams with a road game at South Carolina and a home game against Florida.