ATHENS, Ga. — Immanuel Quickley’s 3-pointer gave No. 14 Kentucky its first lead of the second half and the Wildcats overcame Anthony Edwards’ 23 points to beat Georgia 78-69 on Tuesday night and continue their domination of the Southeastern Conference rivalry.
Kentucky (11-3, 2-0) trailed 37-31 at halftime before finally taking the lead on Quickley’s 3 with 8:06 remaining. Georgia (10-4, 0-1) never regained the lead.
Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards each had 17 points and seven rebounds for Kentucky. Quickley added 15 points.
The Bulldogs hoped to gain momentum from last Saturday’s win at then-No. 9 Memphis. It was Georgia’s first road win over a top-10 team since 2004. The Bulldogs were in position to beat another ranked opponent before the Wildcats took control.
Finally, in the final minute, Kentucky fans in the sellout crowd chanted “Go Big Blue!” as the Wildcats completed their 13th consecutive win over Georgia.
Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans returned from a left ankle injury to start and score 13 points. The injury forced Hagans, from Cartersville, Georgia, to sit out Saturday’s 71-59 win over Missouri in the Wildcats’ SEC opener. He started against the Bulldogs after moving with no difficulty in pregame warmups.
Hagans had a slow start, missing a 3-pointer and a layup in the opening minute. The sophomore was 0 for 5 from the field before breaking his drought with a layup to start a three-point play midway through the half. He made 4 of 12 shots.
Edwards had the fans in the sellout crowd on their feet when he made his first two shots, including a 3, for a 5-0 lead. Kentucky answered with 10 straight points.
The Bulldogs closed the half with an 11-5 run. Edwards closed Georgia’s scoring in the half with a powerful baseline jam before Hagans answered with a 3.
Quickley’s 3-pointer from the corner gave the Wildcats their first advantage of the second half, 58-57. Following a timeout, Maxey blew past the Georgia defense to score on a windmill layup, and Nick Richards’ three-point play capped a 10-0 run that pushed Kentucky’s lead to 63-57.
INTEREST FROM THE PROS
There was good representation from the Atlanta Hawks in the stands. General manager Travis Schlenk had a seat but was one-upped by point guard Trae Young, who sat on the front row beside rapper Quavo. Young’s presence caught the attention of Edwards, who gestured toward the Hawks star after his big jam late in the first half.
Kentucky: The Wildcats finally began taking advantage of their size advantage inside with E.J. Montgomery (6-foot-10, 228 pounds) and Richards (6-11, 247) in the second half. Georgia had a 24-17 advantage in rebounds in the first half, but Kentucky finished with a 40-36 edge.
Georgia: The Bulldogs continue to improve in coach Tom Crean’s second season, but they couldn’t pull off their first win over Kentucky since March 7, 2013. Rayshaun Hammonds had only nine points and four rebounds before fouling out with 1:09 remaining. There was too little help from Georgia’s other inside players.
Kentucky: The Wildcats return home to play Alabama on Saturday.
Georgia: The Bulldogs play at No. 5 Auburn, which joins Kentucky as the SEC’s only ranked teams, on Saturday night.