ATHENS, Ga. – Trey Thompkins scored 25 points and Georgia upset No. 10 Kentucky 77-70 on Saturday, pulling away for its ninth straight win.
The Bulldogs (12-2) stamped themselves as a contender in their Southeastern Conference opener, snapping a seven-game winning streak by the Wildcats (12-3, 0-1) in the biggest win of coach Mark Fox's two-year tenure.
Thompkins hit a key one-handed shot from the baseline with 2:40 remaining. The ball appeared to come up short, but it crawled over the rim to give Georgia a 66-59 lead after it had squandered an 11-point halftime advantage.
From there, the Bulldogs clinched it at the line, hitting 11 of 12 free throws, and Kentucky kept missing from beyond the 3-point arc in a futile attempt to catch up.
Terrence Jones led Kentucky with 24 points, but three teammates fouled out in the closing minutes. The Wildcats shot only 38 percent from the field in putting up their second-lowest total of the season, nearly 10 points below their average.
Thompkins had plenty of help at the offensive end. Gerald Robinson added 17 points, Travis Leslie 15 and Dustin Ware 10.
Georgia started the game quickly, scoring the first seven points, and ended the opening half on a 13-4 run. Robinson knocked down a couple of free throws with 14 seconds left, sending the Bulldogs to the locker room with a 41-30 lead that matched the biggest of the half.
The Wildcats struggled with their shooting all game. Coach John Calipari kept rubbing his hair in frustration and screamed at Deandre Liggins after he put up a long 3-point attempt from the top of the key that clanked off the side of the rim.
Kentucky did have one promising stretch, wiping out Georgia's lead with an 11-0 spurt early in the second half. Liggins made a pair of free throws with 12½ minutes left to tie the game at 47. The Wildcats' only lead, 56-55, came on Jones' three-point play with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Fox ripped off his jacket and flung it into his chair after an offensive foul against his team.
But Ware responded with a 3-pointer that restored Georgia's lead, and Leslie's free throw with 6:47 left put the Bulldogs ahead to stay.
Doron Lamb scored 18 points for Kentucky before fouling out. Brandon Knight added 10. Darius Miller and Liggins also fouled out.
Georgia's strong start brought out the first sellout crowd of the season at Stegeman Coliseum, and unlike previous years it wasn't necessary to fill out the stands with blue. Only a smattering of Kentucky fans were visible in the mostly red-clad crowd, while many others roamed around outside the building in a futile search for tickets.