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Kentucky Wildcats edge Georgia Bulldogs: 3 things to know and postgame banter

Quade Green and Shai Alexander help UK survive Georgia.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats welcomed the Georgia Bulldogs into Rupp Arena to open SEC play.

It featured a first half that we would all rather delete from our memory bank. Both teams couldn’t hit a shot while foul troubled plagued key players for both teams.

The Dawgs did just enough to take a 27-26 into halftime. The offense would pick up for both teams in the second half, and in the end, the home team came way with the gutsy 66-61 win.

Here are three things to know.

Kentucky shot 20.7 percent from the field in the first half.

After Nick Richards and PJ Washington each grabbed two fouls in the game’s first two minutes, the Cats were limited in their offense and their poor shooting didn’t help matters. Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox, Kentucky’s two leading scorers, went a combined 0-for-8 in the first half. Wenyen Gabriel and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander combined to go 2-for-10.

Essentially, Quade Green was the Cats’ offense through the first 20 minutes, scoring half of their points with 13. Without him, this would have turned into one of the worst offensive halves of basketball in program history. It ended up being UK’s worst first half since their 2006 shellacking at Kansas.

Let’s hope this was just a one-time ordeal UK got out of its system.

Kevin Knox had another poor start

After starting the Louisville game 0-for-4 Friday with only his only five first-half points coming from free throws, the Cats’ second-leading scorer again struggled early versus Georgia Sunday going 0-for-4 again with only two points from free throws. Knox ended up fouling out of the game against Louisville with only eight points.

It wasn’t much different on this night, as he finished with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. This can’t continue if UK is going to stay above water in a vastly improved SEC.

Quade and Shai shine again

As was the case against Louisville, Shai Alexander and Quade Green had big games to pace the Cats. This time, it was more critical since everyone else had trouble hitting the ocean, but Green and Shai did just enough on offense to give UK a chance to win this one. It’s as though both players have big games or neither does.

It’s great to see them having so much success together and not at the expense of one another. UK needs to get more from other players, but it’s clear Green and Shai are capable of carrying the offensive load if called upon.

Now, let’s talk!