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No. 16 Kentucky outlasts Georgia to advance to SEC tournament title game

Jamal Murray

Kentucky’s Jamal Murray (23) celebrates after making a basket against Georgia during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, March 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Kentucky had a huge outing from its backcourt of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray as the No. 16 Wildcats ran away with a 93-80 SEC tournament win over Georgia.

The win in Nashville puts Kentucky (25-8) in the SEC tournament title game on Sunday against Texas A&M, who split the SEC regular-season title with the Wildcats.

Ulis finished with 25 points and five assists on the afternoon while Murray set the new Kentucky freshman season scoring record (passing Brandon Knight) while scoring 26 points and collecting six rebounds.

Georgia (19-13) led the game at halftime, 49-43, behind a platoon system that was put in place to help the Bulldogs stay with the fresher Wildcats. Playing their third game in three days, Georgia ran out of gas in the second half and couldn’t keep up with Kentucky as the loss likely keeps them out of the NCAA tournament. Entering the day, Georgia found itself on the Next Four Teams Out list on the latest CBT Bracketology, so the Bulldogs needed this win over Kentucky to likely get in.

The Bulldogs were led by 20 points from Yante Maten and 19 points from J.J. Frazier.

Although Skal Labissiere didn’t contribute a big game on Saturday, Kentucky got a solid game from Derek Willis, as he had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Labissiere is likely going to be an inconsistent presence at best through the rest of this season, but as long as Kentucky has one of its big men playing well, they’re going to be tough to beat if Ulis and Murray are rolling.

During the regular season, Texas A&M picked up a win over Kentucky, 79-77 in overtime, in a game that most people remember for Isaac Humphries’ controversial technical foul. This one on Sunday could have some important NCAA tournament seeding implications as the winner likely gets bumped to the No. 2 or No. 3 line.