Georgia head coach Mark Fox probably isn't looking for any sort of moral victory but the Bulldogs' effort Tuesday night at Rupp Arena probably qualifies. A shorthanded Georgia squad fell to undefeated Kentucky 69-58 in a game that turned pretty competitive in the second half.
Georgia fell behind quickly as Kentucky jumped out of the gates with an 11-1 start. The Bulldogs fought back but a late run in the half by the Wildcats stretched the lead to as many as 17 points. Georgia headed to the intermission trailing 42-27.
The Bulldogs appeared to be teetering on the edge of a knockout at the end of the first half but they answered the bell in the second and quickly found themselves back within striking distance. The lead hovered around 10 to 12 points for much of the second half before Georgia was able to make a late run.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Nemi Djurisic trimmed Kentucky's lead to just six points at 60-54 with 4:10 remaining. Djurisic scored again to cut the deficit to just five with 2:07 remaining. Karl-Anthony Towns pushed the lead back to seven on the next possession and the Bulldogs wouldn't score again as Kentucky successfully closed things out at the free throw line.
Djurisic led the Bulldogs with 17 points on 7-10 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds. Freshman Yante Maten finished with a career-high 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench. Georgia turned in a great effort on the glass out rebounding Kentucky 36-24.
Andrew Harrison led the Wildcats with 23 points and seven assists while Towns logged a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Georgia is going to have to find a way to get their guard combination of Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines going again. Mann and Gaines struggled again on Saturday combining for just 12 points on 3-19 shooting to go along with seven turnovers.
The Bulldogs played without senior center Marcus Thornton for the second straight game due to a concussion. They were hopeful that he would be able to return in time for Saturday's game against Tennessee at Stegeman Coliseum.