Tshiebwe, Washington help No. 16 Kentucky top Georgia 92-77
Oscar Tshiebwe had a career-high 29 points and 17 rebounds, TyTy Washington Jr. added a school-record 17 assists with 17 points and No. 16 Kentucky shot 63% after halftime to pull away from Georgia for a 92-77 victory.
Both teams looked to rebound from close losses, intensity reflected in a back-and-forth first half featuring 10 lead changes. Late baskets by Tshiebwe and Keion Brooks Jr. (14 points) helped the Wildcats (12-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) lead 40-37 at halftime before mounting several spurts, including a 13-4 run over four minutes that made it 73-56. They made 22 of 35 in the second half and finished 40 of 70 (57%).
Kario Oquendo had 22 points, Aaron Cook 17 and Noah Baumann 14 for the Bulldogs (5-10, 0-2), who dropped their fourth consecutive game. Tshiebwe bounced back from a season-low nine points at No. 21 LSU to have his 11th double-double by the break before topping his previous scoring high of 25 points. The junior forward seemed headed for a 20-20 outing before settling for helping Kentucky win the boards 31-25. He finished 13 of 21 from the field.
Washington, handling point guard duties for Kentucky in place of injured Sahvir Wheeler, made 8 of 13 from the field and broke John Wall's single-game assists mark set in December 2009 with 25 seconds remaining. Davion Mintz made 5 of 7 3-pointers and 7 of 10 overall to finish with 19 points off the bench.
Wheeler injured his neck after running into a hard but legal screen in the early minutes in Wednesday's loss at LSU. The ex-Bulldog was dressed in street clothes and is being evaluated daily.
Georgia's initial quick pace forced Kentucky to adjust, and knocking down shots helped the Bulldogs stay within a couple of possessions. They simply fell behind after the break, being outscored 46-26 in the paint.
Kentucky: Washington ably filled in as a facilitator in Wheeler's place, helping the Wildcats maintain some of their inside-outside game.
After starting a step slow, they soon got up to speed and worked the ball around for good looks that fell often.
Georgia visits Mississippi State on Wednesday.
Kentucky visits Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.