Kentucky falls to Georgia 75-68 in Athens, suffers second consecutive loss in SEC


Isabel McSwain

Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) walks to the bench during the Kentucky vs. Georgia mens basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. UK lost 68-75. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Ali Cetinok, Assistant Sports Editor

Kentucky (16-9) fell to Georgia (15-10) in Athens on Saturday afternoon losing to the Bulldogs 75-68 inside Stegeman Coliseum.

After losing to Arkansas 88-73 last week at Rupp Arena, Kentucky came into Athens with the memory of that disappointing loss still fresh in the minds of fans and players alike. Looking for a big win on the road against a weaker Bulldogs squad, things did not look promising for John Calipari’s squad before the game had even started. 

The Cats came into the matchup shorthanded with both Sahvir Wheeler and CJ Fredrick out, leading Kentucky to come out to a slow start, falling behind 13-5.

 To make matters worse for the Wildcats, Cason Wallace would commit two quick fouls forcing Adou Thiero to come in for the star from Texas who went on to see action just for the second time in the last seven games.

After committing the two fouls, Wallace would go on to play just eight minutes in the first half going 0-3 from the field and 0-2 from beyond the arc. 

The early struggles didn’t just affect Wallace but the rest of the Wildcats with Kentucky shooting just 35% from the field, missing 20 shots in the first half.

While the rest of the team couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives, Kentucky would have to lean on Antonio Reeves who’s 15 points and three made three-pointers made sure the Cats were still in the game going into halftime down by 10 with the score at 42-32.

Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) attempts a 3-pointer during the Kentucky vs. Georgia mens basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia. UK lost 68-75. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff (Isabel_McSwain)

To begin the second half, the Cats came out hot while Georgia struggled on offense capitalizing on a 15-5 run to tie the game at 47-47.  

The Bulldogs however would go on an 18-6 run and never looked back to avoid the season sweep against the Wildcats.

Despite the loss, Oscar Tshiebwe put up 20 points, 14 boards, and dished out four assists as well as four steals finishing with his 14th double-double of the season.

After his red-hot first half, Reeves who had his sixth start of the season and first since the UCLA game on Dec. 17., would cool down in the second due to playing a season-high 40 minutes, he would go on to end the game with 20 points for his sixth 20-point game of the season, something that Calipari said was due to limited options.

 “There was some good stuff, but I played Antonio [Reeves] too many minutes.” Calipari said. “I had no choice”

Jacob Toppin put up respectable numbers in the losing effort finishing with 12 points, his eighth-straight game in double-figure scoring and eight rebounds for the Cats.

Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday night as they travel down to Starkville where they will face Mississippi State. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. EST and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.