NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox each scored 20 points, Bam Adebayo added 13 and No. 8 Kentucky went on to beat Georgia 71-60 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Coming off a double bye as the No. 1 seed, the well-rested Wildcats started both halves quickly and steadily pulled away for a double-digit win over the Bulldogs after two close victories. Kentucky (27-5) offset 38 percent shooting by holding Georgia to 19 of 57 from the field (33 percent) and leading by as many as 18 in its tournament opener.
Briscoe provided the biggest lift, making 8 of 15 for his highest output since scoring a season-high 23 against Georgia on Jan. 31. Fox battled foul trouble but made 7 of 12 while Adebayo grabbed 10 rebounds to help Kentucky advance to Saturday’s semifinal against the winner between fifth-seeded Alabama and No. 4 seed South Carolina.
J.J. Frazier had 15 points and Yante Maten added 12 for the eighth-seeded Bulldogs (19-14), who played their second tournament game in as many days.
THE BIG PICTURE
Georgia: The Bulldogs faced a big hurdle with a quick turnaround and couldn’t get the offense they needed against the fresher Wildcats. They made some 3-pointers in the second half, but it was too late to do any damage against a deficit that reached 18 with about 10 minutes remaining. Rebounding was the only consolation (42-all) with Derek Ogbeide’s 15 boards matching a career high before he fouled out late.
Kentucky: Snapping out of their recent habit of slow starts certainly helped the Wildcats, who built a double-digit lead within 12 minutes and kept a comfortable cushion.
Kentucky: At this point the Wildcats are more focused on NCAA Tournament seeding than their ranking, though taking a step toward moving up the Top 10 certainly helps their prospects.
Georgia: Postseason status to be determined.
Kentucky: Faces Alabama-South Carolina winner in Saturday’s semifinals.
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