By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Joe Crawford scored 23 points and Patrick
Patterson added 20 points and nine rebounds as Kentucky held off
Georgia 61-55 on Tuesday.
Ramel Bradley had eight points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats
(14-10, 8-3 Southeastern Conference), who swept the season series
from the Bulldogs (12-12, 3-8) to keep a firm grip on second-place
in the SEC's Eastern Division.
Terrance Woodbury led Georgia with 15 points and Sundiata Gaines
had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, but the Bulldogs shot
just 32 percent from the floor and made just one field goal over
the game's final six minutes.
Kentucky led by as many as 16, but the Bulldogs managed to hang
around and got within three at 55-52 on a 3-pointer by Gaines with
6:22 to play. But Georgia couldn't quite make it all the way back.
Six straight possessions the Bulldogs had the ball with a chance to
cut the lead to one or tie.
It never happened. Bradley ended a four-minute drought for the
Wildcats with a putback off a Patterson miss to push the lead to
57-52, and Kentucky's aggressive defense kept the Bulldogs from
getting any closer.
Georgia center Dave Bliss, who knocked Bradley out of the game
with a hard foul during Kentucky's win at Georgia on Feb. 2, was
booed lustily by the crowd each time he touched the ball. Bradley
said before the game that he was over the incident, claiming it was
just something that happens during the course of a game.
Bradley's patience was tested again late, when he took an elbow
from Billy Humphrey in the game's final minutes. Bradley went
sprawling to the floor after the foul but popped back up and
collected himself as Rupp Arena roared.
Kentucky's second half didn't seem like it would be necessary
during a dizzying opening eight minutes.
Crawford wasted little time heating up, knocking down three
3-pointers in the game's first three minutes as Kentucky roared to
a 20-4 lead and seemed ready to do to the Bulldogs what Vanderbilt
did to the Wildcats in a 41-point rout last week.
Crawford, however, cooled off while Georgia steadied itself
behind a steady dose of Woodbury. The Bulldogs eventually cut the
gap to 33-30 before two free throws by Patterson and a layup by
Bradley pushed the Wildcats to a 37-30 lead at the break.
Kentucky played without guard Jodie Meeks, who continues to
struggle with a strained hip flexor.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)