Athens, Ga. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Georgia to a 72-62 victory Thursday night that dealt another big blow to Kentucky's NCAA hopes.
The Wildcats (20-10, 11-6 Southeastern Conference) took a second straight road loss and head into the regular-season finale against No. 11 Florida in desperate need of a quality win to bolster their resume.
After Georgia (15-15, 9-8) pushed out to a double-digit lead, Kentucky ripped off a quick 7-0 spurt capped by Kyle Wiltjer's 3-pointer. That turned out to be the Wildcats' last hurrah.
Nemanja Djurisic got inside for a run-stopping basket, Caldwell-Pope knocked down four straight free throws, and another Kentucky miss sparked a Georgia fast break that was capped by Caldwell-Pope's rim-hanging dunk.
Just like that, the Bulldogs restored a 58-47 lead.
Archie Goodwin scored 20 points to lead Kentucky, but it was a miserable shooting night for the defending national champions. They were only 23 of 62 from the field (37.1 percent), connected on 6 of 26 from 3-point range, and made just 10 of 18 free throws.
Putting the perfect capper on the night for Georgia, Caldwell-Pope sliced off the wing for another thunderous dunk with a minute to go, finishing off any hopes of a Kentucky comeback. The sophomore posted his fifth double-double of the season.
Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow all fouled out for Kentucky. The Wildcats, on the other hand, didn't even get into the second-half bonus until just 7 seconds remained, long after it mattered.
By then, Georgia already had cleared its bench, giving everyone a chance to play in the final home game of the season.
The Bulldogs set an early tone when Goodwin had his driving shot swatted away by Donte Williams, sparking a Georgia fast break that ended with Sherrard Brantley laying it in at the other end.