UK ends two-game skid with gritty win over Georgia


Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk and Kentucky forward Bam Adebayo were all smiles as they walked off the court after the overtime victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Chris Angolia

In broadcasting legend Brent Musburger’s final game, it was only right that his final call was an overtime thriller between No. 8 UK men’s basketball and Georgia. Freshman Malik Monk dropped 37 to fuel the Cats comeback that resulted in a 90-81 victory.

Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Cats, who were without De’Aaron Fox, did not exactly show a ton of intensity to start the game as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-0 lead which had Rupp Arena silent and coach John Calipari and company searching for answers. The ugly play continued throughout most of the first half for the Cats and had it not been for Isaiah Briscoe, Georgia may very well have run away with the game.

Trailing 19-7 with 11 and a half minutes to go, Briscoe grabbed what was probably the most important rebound of the game, and found Derek Willis who drilled the team’s first three of the game. From that point on, Calipari uncharacteristically put his team into zone defense, and to the surprise of many, including Calipari himself, it worked.

The zone was able to keep the Bulldogs in check for the rest of the half and it allowed the Cats to slowly trim the Georgia lead. UK then used a 13-3 run over the final 5:25 of the first half to tie the game at 29 heading into the locker room which Calipari was ‘ecstatic’ with.

Fortunately for UK, it was able to ditch the ugly start it had to the first half at the start of the second half, and grab its first lead early into the second half.

Within the first 11 minutes of the second half, UK was already above its 29-point total that it had in the first half and that was largely due in part to Monk who hit five straight threes to keep the Cats in front.

However, despite UK’s best efforts to pull away, Georgia continued to hang around behind leading scorers J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten. The Bulldogs were able to hold on and keep it close throughout the second half while the Cats began to go cold.

Over the final 4:36 of the game, the Cats went without a field goal, missing 6 of their last seven shots. The one make however came with 8 seconds left as Monk drilled a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 76 for his first points in the game’s final 10 minutes.

In overtime, Monk carried over the momentum he gained from the late jumper to hit a pair of threes that got Rupp Arena going crazy. Following a Monk three that put UK up four, Monk made a typical highlight-reel one-handed lob to Bam Adebayo that sealed the deal for the Cats.