ATHENS, Ga. — No. 1 Kentucky overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to keep its perfect season intact, beating Georgia 72-64 on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (30-0, 17-0 Southeastern) had won their previous five games by an average of 24 points.
They were really challenged in this one by Georgia (19-10, 10-7), which had the sellout crowd roaring when Yante Maten tipped in a miss of his own shot to put the Bulldogs up 56-47 with 9 minutes left.
But Kentucky showed it knows how to win close games, too. The Wildcats began pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-11 freshman Karl-Anthony Towns.
Kentucky seized the game with a 14-0 run, and Georgia hurt its chances by missing three straight 1-and-1s.
Towns led the Wildcats with 19 points. Nemanja Djurisic topped Georgia with 18 points, 14 in the first half.
Georgia, using its quickness to offset Kentucky’s huge size advantage, had the Wildcats on the ropes after Maten’s hustle play capped a 17-4 spurt. But it was all Kentucky from there, with Towns scoring all but two of his points after halftime.
Kentucky pushed out to its largest lead of the first half at 32-27, taking advantage of a flagrant foul on Kenny Gaines.
But Georgia scored the final five points, the last of them coming on a running floater off the baseline by Djurisic, the ball dropping through the basket as the horn sounded.
Djurisic and the Bulldogs sprinted toward the locker room, tied at 32 and very much in the game. That was a striking change from the first meeting, when Kentucky raced to a 42-27 halftime lead and cruised to an 11-point win.
OLE MISS 82, ALABAMA 74: In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Stefan Moody scored 25 points, and Ladarius White added 19 to boost Ole Miss.
Aaron Jones added 10 points as Ole Miss (20-10, 11-6) recorded its seventh 20-win in nine years. Levi Randolph led Alabama (17-13, 7-10) with 32.
Florida 65, Texas A&M 62: In Gainesville, Florida, Dorian Finney-Smith scored 12 points, and Florida held on despite free-throw woes.
The Gators (15-15, 8-9) led by 14 with 1:58 to play but missed 8 of 14 from the charity stripe before Eli Carter and Kasey Hill closed it out.
The Aggies fell to 20-9, 11-6.
Missouri 63, Auburn 61: In Columbia, Missouri, Keith Shamburger had 21 points and made a 10-footer with 10.9 seconds left to lift Missouri.