LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Ron Jirsa was afraid No. 6 Kentucky would dominate his Georgia Bulldogs in the paint. But he could never have imagined his team would take such epic abuse.
The Bulldogs were outrebounded 25-3 in the first half and 49-24 overall in Wednesday night's 92-71 loss to the Wildcats in front of 23,458 in Rupp Arena. That kind of deficit would be tough to overcome under normal circumstances. With leading scorer and rebounder Jumaine Jones playing only 16 minutes because of a hip-pointer, it was impossible.
"We tried everything to find an answer," Jirsa said.
The Bulldogs, who have only won twice in Lexington ever, fell to 14-11 overall and 5-8 in the SEC. Kentucky (21-6, 10-3) has now beaten the Bulldogs 12 straight times. Georgia is 2-7 in its last nine games.
As lopsided as the final rebounding total was, it didn't reflect the true nature of the game. At the official timeout with 11:39 left in the game, Kentucky held a 39-6 rebounding edge. The Wildcats outscored Georgia 27-11 on second-chance points. Kentucky led 18-0 in that category at the half.
"Rebounding and defense I think are all effort; that's something we didn't give out there," Jones said.
Jones, who scored 34 points against Kentucky in the teams' first meeting, played only three minutes in the second half and finished with seven points. He is expected to be ready physically for the Bulldogs next game, a Saturday contest against LSU. Whether any of the Bulldogs will recover mentally is another question.
"I think the story here is that without Jones, we are not going to be at our best," Jirsa said.
D.A. Layne led Georgia with 24 points.
The Bulldogs can't lay this one totally at the feet of their much-maligned post players. There was plenty of blame to go around. In his last regularly scheduled game against his father, Tubby, who coaches the Wildcats, and his brother Saul, who is a Kentucky sophomore, G.G. Smith was ineffective and didn't even start the second half.
"They just beat us down tonight," G.G. said.
Senior Michael Chadwick didn't start the second half either. Ray Harrison and Shawn Fields replaced Smith and Chadwick in the second half, but it didn't help. Smith wasn't even the first point guard off the bench. Instead Jirsa inserted freshman Terrence Edwards in Harrison's place.
Smith is now 0-4 against his dad, who was the head coach at Georgia in the 1996 and 1997 seasons.
Kentucky built its biggest lead at the 12:27 mark when Saul Smith threw up an alley-oop that freshman Jules Camara dunked behind his head. The game was essentially over at that point. But since there's no mercy rule in Division-I, the teams played it out to make it official.
"We just couldn't find an answer when they got on a roll in the second half," Jirsa said.
The Bulldogs, who never led, fell behind 8-0 in the first three minutes of the game but bounced back to make parts of the first half interesting. But the closest Georgia ever came to a lead was at 28-26 after a D.A. Layne 3-pointer with 6:54 left in the half. But the Wildcats outscored Georgia 19-5 from there to take a 47-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Bulldogs have three regular-season games before the SEC Tournament.
"We just have to play with pride now," Jones said.
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