Kentucky pulls away, ends Georgia's run in SEC Tournament

Kentucky's Dakari Johnson (right) tries to shoot over Georgia forward Marcus Thornton. The Wildcats led by four points at halftime, but took over in the second half Saturday.



ATLANTA — Aaron Harrison scored 22 points and Kentucky took a methodical 70-58 win over Georgia on Saturday to advance to another Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game.

Kentucky will play No. 1 Florida in today’s championship game, creating the attractive matchup of the tournament’s two top seeds.

The Wildcats improved their record of dominance in SEC semifinals to 38-2.

James Young had 14 points and Julius Randle had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky (24-9), which never trailed but led only 36-32 at halftime.

Kentucky’s big lead was 16 points at 68-52.

Kenny Gaines had 13 points, all in the second half, and Charles Mann had 12 for Georgia (19-13), which now likely will wait for an NIT bid.

Kentucky has enjoyed the SEC Tournament in “Catlanta” and the Georgia Dome. The Wildcats have won six tournament championships in Atlanta.

Overall, Kentucky has 27 SEC Tournament titles.

Andrew Harrison had 12 points and nine assists for Kentucky.

Florida’s undefeated regular-season run through the conference included a sweep of two games against Kentucky. Florida took an 84-65 home win over the Wildcats on March 8 to close the regular season.

Harrison had 16 points in the first half but Georgia stayed close, trailing 36-32 at halftime on Marcus Thornton’s buzzer-beating layup.

It was a rare strong inside move for the Bulldogs, whose attempts near the basket were often influenced by Kentucky’s bigger front-line players, including two 7-footers, Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Kentucky forward Julius Randle, who grabbed nine rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Georgia was playing in its first SEC semifinal since 2008, the year a tornado hit downtown Atlanta and forced the tournament to move from the Georgia Dome to Georgia Tech’s old Alexander-Memorial Coliseum.



Patric Young scored 16 points and Florida turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, rallying for a victory over Tennessee in the semifinals.

Florida (31-2) extended its school-record winning streak to 25 in a row after trailing by 10 in the first half.

The Gators were down 35-28 at the break, but they wore down the Volunteers (21-12) over the final 20 minutes. After shooting 54 percent in the opening period, Tennessee made just 5-of-20 shots and turned the ball over 11 times, leaving its fate in the hands of the NCAA selection committee.

The Gators improved to 20-0 against SEC opponents.

Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin added 14 points and Casey Prather had 12.

Jordan McRae led Tennessee with 15 points, while Jarnell Stokes had 13 points and seven rebounds.



Georgia Dome, Atlanta

• Florida vs. Kentucky, 3:15 p.m. (ABC-Ch. 6)



Sat, 11/18/2017 - 21:21

First buck taken