2:27:06 UKMBB vs Mizzou

Kentucky freshman guard Tyrese Maxey holds his finish during the game against Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 71-59. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards each contributed 17 points and seven rebounds, allowing No. 14 Kentucky to outpace potential top NBA-Draft pick Anthony Edwards and the Georgia Bulldogs 78-69 in Athens. It was the first true road game of the season for the Cats, who outscored the Bulldogs 47-32 in the second half. 

The opening half had each team trading runs, with Edwards responsible for the first five points on the board. Kentucky responded with 12 of the next 14, and Georgia poured in the next nine. The Bulldogs looked like they would go into the half with a nine-point advantage, but Ashton Hagans hit a three from the top of the key before the buzzer to make it a 37-31 deficit for the Cats. 

Early in the second half, Kentucky got within one on a three-pointer from Nate Sestina. Edwards quickly answered from way behind the arc, and knocked down another deep trey the next possession after a basket by Immanuel Quickley, pushing the Bulldogs up by five. 

The Cats turned up the intensity just before the 9:00 mark, starting a 10-0 spurt. A Quickley three gave Kentucky its first lead since the 8:05 mark of the first half, and Maxey followed with an up-and-under layup. Richards put in three the old-fashioned way to cap it off, putting the Cats up 63-57. 

They would again flex their muscle in the final minutes, including another 7-0 run to put the game out of reach. 

Richards, Maxey, Hagans and Quickley all scored in double figures for Kentucky, who improved to 11-3 (2-0 SEC) with the win. Edwards finished with 23 points and five rebounds for Georgia (10-4, 0-1 SEC). Jordan Harris had the Bulldogs’ next highest point total with 10. 

Johnny Juzang missed his second straight game due to illness. Maxey recorded the highest assist total (eight) of his short career as a Wildcat. Quickley went 3-for-3 from deep, making him 7-for-11 from behind the arc in his last two appearances. 

The Cats’ performance at the free-throw line for the first time this season was subpar. They missed three in a row during the second half, which contributed to a 4-for-12 performance through the first 38 minutes. They rebounded to go 6-for-8 down the stretch, but finishing a game at 50 percent from the charity stripe is far from ideal.

Georgia takes on another of the nation’s top teams this weekend, when they visit No. 5 and currently undefeated Auburn on Saturday. Kentucky will look to open conference play 3-0 the same day when they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide at Rupp Arena. Tip is set for 12:00 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN and the ESPN app.