No. 21 Arkansas routs Georgia to reach SEC title game

Nashville, TN ( - Michael Qualls scored 15 points to lead No. 21 Arkansas to a 60-49 win over Georgia in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

That sets up a rematch with No. 1 Kentucky in the SEC title game on Sunday after the Razorbacks fell to the Wildcats, 84-67, at Kentucky in February.

"We get a chance to go to the championship game," said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson. "That's what we came up here for, and our guys are looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge of playing a great Kentucky team."

Arkansas (26-7) shot just 37.3 percent. Anthlon Bell added 10 points for the second-seeded Razorbacks.

The third-seeded Bulldogs (21-11) were led by Marcus Thornton and Cameron Forte with 13 points apiece. Thornton added 12 rebounds, and Taylor Echols scored a career-high 10.

Early in the second half, Bobby Portis converted a three-point play in the middle of a 13-2 Razorbacks run. Those were the first points of the game for the SEC Player of the Year and also gave him 1,000 for his career.

Georgia's first 25 points came in the paint or at the free-throw line until Echols' back-to-back 3s with 12 minutes remaining. Those shots also cut down Arkansas' game-high lead of 19 points.

"I thought both teams played really hard, but it was certainly an ugly game," said Georgia coach Mark Fox.

The Bulldogs trailed by double digits for most of the second half, but another Echols triple pulled them within nine with four minutes to play. That would be Georgia's final made shot from the floor.

Arkansas prides itself on its high-scoring offense, but it led just 25-17 at the half, tied for its lowest scoring half of the season. Portis was 0- for-6, and the Razorbacks shot 33.3 percent as a team.

The Bulldogs had even bigger problems. Forte led all scorers with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting, but his teammates combined to shoot 2-of-19 in the first half. Georgia starters combined for six points.

Game Notes

Arkansas advances to its first SEC Championship since 2008 when it lost to Georgia ... Georgia's second-leading scorer, Kenny Gaines, did not play due to a foot injury ... Portis finished with four points on 1-of-14 shooting with 12 rebounds ... The Razorbacks only scored 25 points in the first half against Clemson on Dec. 7.