UK men’s basketball opens SEC schedule with Georgia


Freshman forward Wenyen Gabriel shoots a layup during the quarterfinal game of the SEC Tournament against the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, March 10, 2017 in Nashville, Ky. Kentucky won the game 71-60.

Chris Leach

After correcting the ship and defeating Louisville by 29 points, the Kentucky basketball team will attempt to keep the momentum going when it hosts its first conference opponent of the year on Dec. 31.

The Georgia Bulldogs will be Kentucky’s first SEC opponent after Kentucky finished its non-conference slate 10-2. Kentucky’s most recent win was against Louisville, where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped a career-high 24 points to lead the Cats.

Read: UK defeats UofL behind Gilgeous-Alexander’s big performance

Gilgeous-Alexander has performed well for the Cats recently, as he’s finished with at least nine points, three rebounds and three assists in three of his last four games. Gilgeous-Alexander averages 10.8 points off the bench while leading Kentucky in assists and steals.

P.J. Washington also had a big game against Louisville, posting 16 points and seven rebounds while shooting perfect from the free throw line on six attempts.

Washington is UK’s fifth player who averages double digit points per game behind Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox, Gilgeous-Alexander and Quade Green.

As for Georgia, the Bulldogs have only two double digits scorers, led by forward Yante Maten. Maten averages 20.2 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game, which also leads the Bulldogs.

In Georgia’s most recent game against Temple on Dec. 22, Maten finished with a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds. Maten’s lowest scoring output this season was 13 points, and he’s finished above 20 points in six of Georgia’s 11 games, including in all of the last four.

Georgia’s other player who averages double-digit points a game is guard William Jackson II. Jackson averages 12.1 points a game while leading the team in three-point percentage and assists.

Maten and Jackson led Georgia to its 9-2 non-conference record before opening SEC play as well on Sunday. Georgia’s biggest win of the year took place on Nov. 26 when the Bulldogs defeated No. 21 St. Mary’s 83-81.

Tipoff for the SEC opener will be at 6 p.m. at Rupp Arena.