UK basketball set to face Maten and the Bulldogs


Freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gets ready to pass the ball during the game against Georgia on Sunday, December 31, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 66 to 61. Photo by Olivia Beach | Staff

AJ Harris

For the second time this season, UK men’s basketball (21-10, 10-8) will face Georgia (18-14, 7-11), this time for a chance to advance in the SEC Tournament to the semifinals. This will be UK’s first game of the tournament after receiving a double-bye due to the Cats’ No. 4 seed in the tournament.

The game will be Friday, March 9, 25 minutes after the end of the Auburn-Alabama game on ESPN. In UK’s previous matchup with Georgia, point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scoring with 21 points as the Cats defeated the Bulldogs 66-61 at Rupp Arena on Dec. 31, 2017. Yante Maten led the Bulldogs with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Head Coach: Mark Fox (Ninth season at Georgia)

Starters: William Jackson II (Junior, G, 6-4, 185 lbs.)

Juwan Parker (Redshirt Senior, G, 6-4, 205 lbs.)

Rayshaun Hammonds (Freshman, F, 6-8, 227 lbs.)

Yante Maten (Senior, F, 6-8, 243 lbs.)

Derek Ogbeide (Junior, F, 6-8, 245 lbs.)

Players to Watch

Georgia is a good team that has good all-around players who can both score and defend well, but for the Bulldogs to advance to the semifinals, Maten will have to lead the way. The AP SEC Player of the Year tallied a double-double in 21 points and 10 rebounds in an upset as he helped his team defeat Missouri in the 2nd round of the SEC Tournament on March 8. On the season, Maten averages 19.5 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game.

Georgia in the SEC

Last season, the Bulldogs went 19-15 overall and finished 9-9 in the SEC, finishing in eighth place overall. Georgia has not won an SEC Tournament since defeating Arkansas 66-57 during the 2007-08 season under Dennis Felton. Georgia has won only one game this season against any of the teams remaining on its side of the bracket.

Against Kentucky

Georgia is losing the all-time series vs. UK 26-124. In the SEC Tournament, UK leads 11‐1. The last time UK lost to Georgia was in 2013 when Georgia defeated the Cats 62-72. Georgia met UK in the SEC Tournament last year during the quarterfinal. In UK’s win, Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox each scored 20 points, while Bam Adebayo added 13.

Keys to the Game

In their last game, the Bulldogs shocked a good Missouri (20-12, 10-8 conf.) team that welcomed back Michael Porter Jr. after he missed all but three games this season due to injury, defeating them 62-60.

This was a good win for Georgia going into Friday because they gained a lot of momentum. Their defense and team play have been unbelievable during this two-game win streak. If they hope to defeat the Cats on March 9, they must come out dominating the glass and ready to play.

UK’s team is big, so keys to this game are simply defense and rebounding. If the Bulldogs want to advance, they have to rebound and defend the three-point line.