ATHENS, Ga. — My column done, here’s three more things from Kentucky’s 72-64 win at Georgia:
1. Doing it when it counts. When Georgia’s Yante Miten tipped in his own miss with 9:14 left, Kentucky trailed 56-47. When Georgia’s Marcus Thornton made two free throws with 5:36 remaining, Kentucky trailed 62-56.
And then, all of a sudden, the Cats rolled up their sleeves and went to work. A 14-0 run turned the six-point deficit into a 70-62 lead with 33 seconds left and Kentucky improved to 30-0 with the eight-point win over the Bulldogs.
Here’s how the 14-point run went: Aaron Harrison fast break basket while being fouled cut the lead to 62-58. Willie Cauley-Stein jammed home Aaron’s missed free throw to cut it to 62-60. Aaron’s jumper from the right wing tied the score at 62 with 3:51 left.
Karl-Anthony Towns three-point play at the 2:53 mark put UK up 65-62. Towns then scored off a Tyler Ulis assist to make it 67-62. Aaron Harrison made one of two free throws for 68-62. Then with 33.4 seconds left, Towns made two more free throws for a 70-62 UK lead.
2. Georgia did almost everything right. Almost. The Bulldogs shot 47.3 percent to UK’s 37.9 percent. Georgia outrebounded the Cats 41-38. Georgia had 32 defensive rebounds to 11 offensive boards for Kentucky. The Bulldogs had 13 assists to Kentucky’s eight.
Georgia usually shoots more free throws than its opponents, however, and that didn’t happen Tuesday. Kentucky was 18-of-25 from the foul line. Georgia was just nine-of-18.
The Bulldogs missed five key free throws over the final 4:22. Charles Mann missed the front end of a bonus situation at 4:22. Kenny Gaines missed the front end at the 2:27 mark. Mann missed yet another front end with 44 seconds left. And J.J. Frazier missed two free throws with 11.1 seconds remaining.
“We played hard, we played very well but we didn’t play perfect,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox. “And they are so dang good that you almost have to play perfect, and that’s not realistic.”
3. All praise Karl-Anthony Towns. The 6-foot-11 freshman finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes before fouling out. Towns was eight-of-12 from the floor and three-of-five from the foul line. He had one assist, one turnover, one block and one steal.
For much of the second half, he was the one for the Cats. Towns scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half. He scored 11 points in the game’s final 7:58. He scored seven of those points in the final 2:53.
“We had to do some stuff to get the ball in the post and Karl did well,” said John Calipari afterward. “I’ve got enough confidence in him to go to him to shoot free throws. That’s how much I think of him. We know he has the courage and he has the skill and ability, but that’s what we did, we went to him late.”
Related link: Herald-Leader photo gallery from Kentucky-Georgia