Cats beat Georgia 62-49 in SEC Quarterfinals

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – PJ Washington scored 18 points to help send Kentucky to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 62-49 victory over Georgia on Friday.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats (22-10), who have won the last three tournament championships and 30 titles overall, advanced to face Alabama on Saturday.

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The 6-foot-7 Washington scored 11 of his points in the second half and finished 8 of 12 from the field. Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each added 15 points in the victory, which was Kentucky’s fifth in its last six games following a four-game losing streak.

Tyree Crump led the No. 12 seed Bulldogs (18-15) with 17 points, while Associated Press SEC player of the year Yante Maten was held to nine points on 2 of 10 shooting.

Despite playing their third game in as many days, compared with Kentucky, making its first outing of the tournament, the Bulldogs took a 23-22 lead late in the first half after a pair of free throws by Maten. The edge was short-lived, however, when the Wildcats responded with an 8-0 run to take a 30-23 halftime lead and surged ahead by as many as 17 points in the second half.

BIG PICTURE

Georgia: The Bulldogs saw their NCAA RPI rating climb from 81st to 72nd thanks to wins over Vanderbilt and Missouri over the tournament’s first two days. However, they still likely needed to win the tournament to have a realistic chance of reaching coach Mark Fox’s third NCAA Tournament in nine seasons at the school.

Kentucky: The Wildcats played without forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who was injured during practice earlier this week. The 6-foot-9 freshman has led Kentucky in rebounding with 7.9 boards per game since returning from a foot injury that kept him out for the first 17 games of the season. He’s done so in only an average of 17 minutes per game.

UP NEXT

Georgia waits to learn its postseason fate.

The Wildcats face ninth-seeded Alabama on Saturday.

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Alex Risen joined the ABC 36 News team in October of 2011 as ABC 36’s Weekend Sports Anchor/ Sports Reporter. Alex can also be seen Friday nights co-anchoring the Highschool Highlight Reel. Alex started out in the broadcast business while still in college at the University of Kentucky, heading up the school’s daily student news network as the Sports Director. He made his commercial televsion debut in May of 2011 while at WYMT in Hazard, Kentucky as co-host of a weekly, half-hour high school sports program previewing area schools’ games on Friday nights and as a morning sports anchor. Alex has also spent time as an intern at ESPN in the Statistics and Analysis department, as a production assistant for NBC Sports horse racing and Sunday Night Football productions, and as an intern for WLKY in his hometown of Louisville, KY. Alex graduated from Saint Xavier High School in 2007 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2010 where he graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program. He’s excited to be covering his passion in his home state and make Central Kentucky his home for years to come. Alex can be reached at ARisen@wtvq.com