Lexington, KY – The top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats put a couple of impressive win streaks on the line this evening, as they welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Lexington for an SEC showdown at Rupp Arena.
John Calipari's Wildcats boast the nation's longest current win streak at 20 games and the nation's longest homecourt winning streak, now sitting at 51 games. The team is 14-0 in conference play and has already secured its 45th SEC title, winning the outright crown last weekend with an 83-74 win over Vanderbilt.
Mark Fox's Bulldogs have struggled to remain competitive this season and sit two games under .500 at 13-15. The conference slate has presented a bigger problem, with Georgia heading into this contest with a 4-10 league ledger. Still, the team does have a little bit of momentum following its most impressive win of the season, topping nationally-ranked Florida last weekend, 76-62.
UK holds a 114-25 advantage in the all-time series and is an equally impressive 55-5 against Georgia in Lexington. Kentucky is seeking the regular- season sweep after recording a 57-44 road win on Jan. 24.
The Bulldogs received a rare balanced scoring effort and led from start to finish in knocking off Florida this past weekend in Athens. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led five Bulldogs in double figures with 18 points in the win. Gerald Robinson added 15 points to the cause, Nemanja Djurisic finished with 12 points, while Donte' Williams and Dustin Ware chipped in with 11 points apiece. Georgia converted an impressive 52.9 percent from the floor overall, and racked up 16 assists in the game.
The offensive numbers have not been as strong on the season overall, with Georgia averaging 61.5 ppg on a meager .397 shooting. Robinson is both the team's top scorer (14.3 ppg) and distributor (3.8 apg). Caldwell-Pope isn't far behind in the scoring column at 13.9 ppg. Dustin Ware is a distant third at 8.0 ppg. Caldwell-Pope and Ware have been effective at times from beyond the arc, combining for 111 of the team's 184 three-pointers to date.
It may be Senior Night in Lexington, but Kentucky lacks a great deal of veteran leadership, with only Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas being honored tonight. The overall youth on the roster has not limited the Wildcats in any way, shape or form. Kentucky is averaging a strong 77.8 ppg, but has been even more impressive at the defensive end, ranking first nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.365) and 15th in scoring defense (58.8 ppg). The team also leads the country in scoring margin at an impressive +19.0. It starts with freshman phenom Anthony Davis. The 6-10 youngster is on the short-list in terms of National Player of the Year recognition and will likely be the top pick in the next NBA draft, should he decide to leave school. Davis leads the team in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg) and ranks first in the nation in blocked shots (4.8 bpg) and second nationally in field-goal percentage (.658). Offensive help comes in the form of sophomores Doron Lamb (13.6 ppg) and Terrence Jones (12.2 ppg) and freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (12.0 ppg).
Davis recorded his 13th double-double of the season in the win over Vanderbilt, as he finished with a career-high 28 points, coupled with 11 rebounds. He also added to his shot-blocking total (138) with five. Fellow freshman Marquis Teague added 16 points and six assists in the victory, while Jones tallied 12 points and six boards.