And so Kentucky will have a third shot at knocking off the Gators. The Wildcats defeated Georgia 70-58 in the second semifinal of the SEC Tournament to set-up a final matchup against Florida tomorrow afternoon. It’s my birthday weekend, I have family in town, and want to start celebrating so let’s get to it.
The Good: The team started fast, jumping out to a 17-7 lead in the first six and a half minutes of the first half. After Georgia cut Kentucky’s lead to 3 points, 46-43, with 13:03 left in the game, Kentucky went on a 15-5 run to put the game out of reach for good. Georgia had 3—THREE—offensive rebounds for the entire game. Kentucky had 25 defensive rebounds. When Georgia missed, Kentucky grabbed the rebound. Kentucky shot 51% from the field and 56% from behind the arc. The Wildcats had 12 assists. James Young shot 6-8 from the field, including 2-4 from the three point line en route to 14 points. Julius Randle had his 20th double double of the season, joining Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins as the only Kentucky players with at least 20 double doubles in a season.
But the story of the game is the play of Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison.
Andrew Harrison’s stat line: 5-10 FG; 2-2 3FG; 5 rebounds; 9 assists; 12 points.
Aaron Harrison’s stat line: 7-10 FG; 4-7 3FG; 4-5 FT; 0 TOs; 22 points.
The “Twins” are often on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from Big Blue Nation—some warranted, much of it unnecessary. But, so far in Atlanta they are looking like the players most of the fan base expected them to be. If they play like this tomorrow versus Florida the ‘Cats have an excellent shot at leaving Atlanta with yet another SEC Tournament championship.
The Bad: After jumping out to a 17-7 lead in the opening minutes of the first half, Kentucky let Georgia back into the game, taking a 4 point lead into halftime. In the opening minutes of the second half, the ‘Cats looked too much like the team that struggled on offense in January and February. The Wildcats missed 9 free throws. Willie Cauley-Stein’s stat line was terrible. Florida is RIPE for the pickin’ tomorrow and it won’t take a perfect game from Kentucky to do it. But it will take a pretty damn good game.
The Ugly: Alex Poythress was (almost) a non-factor yesterday. He was invisible today, with the exception of the three times the refs saw him in the first half and whistled him for a foul. Poythress is, in my opinion, the most versatile guy on the team. But so far this tournament, he’s mostly been a spectator than a participant. I remain convinced that for Kentucky to make a deep run Alex must be a factor.
Last week I asked what, exactly, was worth believing in with this team. After two games in Atlanta, plenty.