Georgia's campaign for elite status in the SEC took a major step forward Saturday.
The trendy pick to surprise the SEC East got a big win at home, beating No. 10 Kentucky 77-70. The Bulldogs stormed out of the gate, scoring the game's first seven points and took an 11-point halftime lead.
Kentucky (12-3), led by freshman Doron Lamb, roared back in the second half and even held a lead -- briefly. After a Brandon Knight runner tied the game at 58, the Bulldogs went on a 15-4 to put the game away.
Georgia (12-2) was led in scoring by Trey Thompkins who had a game-high 25 points. Terrence Jones had 24 for Kentucky, though most of his buckets came in garbage time as he struggled with foul trouble throughout.
How it was won: Free throws. Georgia entered as the 11th best foul shooting team in the SEC at 62 percent. They finished the game making 30 of 34. Kentucky only attempted 16 free throws, making just ten. This, above all else, was the difference in the game.
How it was lost: Foul trouble. Terrence Jones picked up two in the first half and had to sit, and then he repeated that performance in the second half and had to sit for a crucial stretch. Not only is he needed on the floor for scoring, but he is also one of the conference's top rebounders. Without his play in the paint, natural small forward Darius Miller is forced to slide over to power forward. And in this game, Miller was matched up with one of the best bigs in the SEC, Trey Thompkins. Not good.
Where to from here: Kentucky will be fine. They have a slew of "gimmes" before UGA comes to Rupp Arena at the end of the month. The Bulldogs play Wednesday night at the other conference favorite, Vanderbilt. Another win would signify a huge start to Mark Fox's second year.