ATHENS, Ga. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Georgia to a 72-62 victory over Kentucdky on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (20-10, 11-6 Southeastern Conference) took a second consecutive road loss and head into the regular-season finale against No. 11 Florida in desperate need of a quality win to bolster their resume.
After Georgia (15-15, 9-8) pushed out to a double-digit lead, Kentucky ripped off a quick 7-0 spurt capped by Kyle Wiltjer’s 3-pointer. That turned out to be the Wildcats’ last hurrah.
Nemanja Djurisic got inside for a run-stopping basket, Caldwell-Pope knocked down four straight free throws, and another Kentucky miss sparked a Georgia fast break that was capped by Caldwell-Pope’s rim-hanging dunk.
Just like that, the Bulldogs restored a 58-47 lead.
Archie Goodwin scored 20 points to lead Kentucky, but it was a miserable shooting night for the defending national champions. They were only 23 of 62 from the field (37.1 percent), connected on 6 of 26 from 3-point range, and made just 10 of 18 free throws.
Putting the perfect capper on the night for Georgia, Caldwell-Pope sliced off the wing for another thunderous dunk with a minute to go, finishing off any hopes of a Kentucky comeback. The sophomore posted his fifth double-double of the season.
Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow all fouled out for Kentucky. The Wildcats, on the other hand, didn’t even get into the second-half bonus until just 7 seconds remained, long after it mattered.
By then, Georgia already had cleared its bench, giving everyone a chance to play in the final home game of the season.
NO. 10 MICHIGAN STATE 58,
NO. 22 WISCONSIN 43
In East Lansing, Mich., Keith Appling scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to help Michigan State (23-7, 12-5) pull away to beat Wisconsin (20-10, 11-6) and stay in the Big Ten race.
The Spartans moved into a three-way tie for second with Michigan and Ohio State. The trio trails conference-leading Indiana with one game left in the regular season.
The Hoosiers can claim the Big Ten title outright with a win Sunday in Ann Arbor against the Wolverines. If they lose, Michigan would earn piece of the title and give Michigan State and the Buckeyes a shot to pull into a four-way tie. The Spartans close the regular season Sunday at home against Northwestern after Ohio State hosts Illinois.
The Badgers fell to fifth place with the decisive road loss after Purdue handed them their most lopsided setback at home in more than seven years.
COLORADO 76, NO. 19 OREGON 53
In Boulder, Colo., Xavier Johnson had a career-high 22 points to help Colorado (20-9, 10-7) beat Oregon (23-7, 12-5), completing a season sweep and thwarting the Ducks’ bid to gain a share of the Pac-12 Conference title.
The Buffaloes played without the nation’s leading rebounder, Andre Roberson, who sat out with a viral illness.
Arsalan Kazemi, Jonathan Loyd and Ben Carter each had 10 points for Oregon (23-7, 12-5), which fell into a first-place tie with UCLA. The Ducks hold the tiebreaker after beating the Bruins in their only meeting in January. Oregon can wrap up at least a share of their first league crown since 2002 – along with the No. 1 seed for the Pac-12 Tournament – with a win at Utah on Saturday.
Spencer Dinwiddie added 17 points as Colorado improved to 12-2 at Coors Events Center this season.