LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Georgia knew what it had to do Saturday afternoon to beat Kentucky. The fact the Bulldogs did just that and still lost sums up the season.
Georgia played a zone defense against the poor-shooting Wildcats and watched Kentucky use 11 3-pointers to top the Bulldogs 70-64 in front of 22,651 in Rupp Arena.
"We played very well," Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "That's about all we have."
The Bulldogs (10-15, 3-9 SEC) led by as many as nine points in the second half and held the lead for the first three-quarters of the game, but still lost to Kentucky for the 14th straight game and 21st time in 22 meetings.
The Wildcats (19-7, 9-3) kept the pressure on SEC East leader Tennessee despite playing without starters Keith Bogans and Desmond Allison for a half and second-leading scorer Tayshaun Prince for the entire game.
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith benched the trio for academic shortcomings.
"Yeah, we thought we could win," said Georgia's Shon Coleman, who notched his third straight double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. "We feel like that every night. This is a hostile environment, but we really felt we could win, but they shot the ball well. There's really not much we can do when they shoot the ball that well from the outside."
The Wildcats entered the game shooting an SEC-worst 28.6 percent from 3-point range and beat Georgia in the teams' first meeting on the strength of center Jamaal Magloire's 19 points. Considering both of those facts, it wasn't surprising to see the Bulldogs play most of the game in a 2-3 zone, focusing their defense on the interior at the expense of some open outside shots.
But Kentucky mounted its comeback on the strength of nine straight possessions in which 18 of its 19 points came on 3-pointers. The Wildcats were 6 of 6 from behind the arc in that sequence.
"They hit 11 3s," Harrick said flatly, "and we didn't plan on that."
Georgia, which came within 10 points of Kentucky in Lexington for the first time since 1988, took its biggest lead of the game when D.A. Layne (team-high 18 points) hit a 3-pointer with 17:09 left to put his team up 44-35.
The Bulldogs kept a healthy margin for the next four minutes as Anthony Evans put Georgia up 48-40 with 13:50 left in the game. But Kentucky hit 3-pointers on five of its next seven possessions, getting two each from J.P. Blevins (team-high 14 points) and Keith Bogans.
"It's contagious," Smith said of his team's shooting. "When someone hits one, the others think they can start hitting them."
Bogans put Kentucky up for good, 53-50, with a 3-pointer at the 10:24 mark. Georgia pulled within two moments later, but Clarke Central graduate Saul Smith hit a 3-pointer with 2:26 left to put the Bulldogs away.
"We came in with game plan of keeping Magloire from having a big game, keeping their inside players from having a big game," junior Adrian Jones said. "We said if they were going to beat us, they were going to beat us over the top. And that's what they did."
Kentucky, which was 2 of 23 from behind the 3-point line Wednesday night in a win over Alabama, took a season-high 29 threes and made 11, one short of a season-high. The Wildcats have only made more than eight 3-pointers in a game three times this season.
Harrick added that his team was hurt as much by its inability to rebound effectively as by Kentucky's new-found shooting stroke. The Bulldogs were outrebounded 38-32, including 21-15 on the offensive glass. On one possession with less than a minute to go, the Wildcats grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds to eat up any time Georgia might have used for a comeback.
"The biggest problem was they got some offensive rebounds (in addition to the 3-pointers)," Harrick said. "That hurt us."
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