Felton has UK's number as Georgia stuns Cats

By SUSAN RIDDELL State Journal Sports Writer Published:

LEXINGTON - Good defense and rebounding.

Those were the two factors which helped coach Dennis Felton two years ago when his Western Kentucky Hilltoppers upset Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

Those same two factors where the biggest reasons why Felton improved to 2-0 versus the Wildcats Saturday after his Georgia Bulldogs shocked the No. 5 Wildcats 65-57 before 23,102 fans in Rupp Arena.

The loss for Kentucky ends a streak of 21 straight Southeastern Conference wins, dating back to last season. UK is now 11-2, 2-1 in SEC play while Georgia improves to 9-5, 1-2.

Felton, in his first year as the Georgia coach, said there were no tricks up his sleeve. His mastery of Kentucky comes down to his players coming through in big-game situations.

"I think it's a coincidence," Felton said when asked what his secret is in playing the Wildcats. "We held them to 57 points today and it was something like that last time (a 64-52 WKU win). (The Bulldogs) held them to 36 percent and we outrebounded them by 13. You've got to understand we embrace the same things they do."

The Bulldogs, coming off lopsided SEC losses to South Carolina and Tennessee, outshot UK 39 percent to 36.5 and held a 36-23 edge on the glass. Some numbers for the Wildcats were shocking, in fact, like Cliff Hawkins struggling through a one-point effort. Hawkins was 0-for-5 from the field before fouling out late in the game.

Erik Daniels, the team's second leading rebounder at seven per game, pulled down just one rebound for the game though he was 6-for-8 from the field and led Kentucky with 15 points.

"Their players played aggressive and physical," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said of Georgia, "and we didn't respond to that. You could tell by the way we got beat on the boards. We put them on the foul line and we missed some baskets and didn't get good play on the perimeter."

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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