Andrew, Aaron Harrison click just in time for Kentucky's SEC tournament run

Saturday, March 15, 2014 | 7:04 p.m. CDT
Kentucky forward Julius Randle shoots over a Georgia defense during the first half in the semifinal round of the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday in Atlanta. The Wildcats won 70-58 and advanced to Sunday's final against No. 1 Florida.

ATLANTA — The Harrison brothers are clicking at just the right time to have Kentucky in position for another Southeastern Conference tournament title.

Aaron Harrison broke out of shooting slump with 22 points and Andrew Harrison set a career high in assists for the second straight game with nine in the Wildcats' 70-58 win against Georgia on Saturday to advance to the SEC tournament championship game.

Kentucky will play No. 1 Florida in Sunday's championship game, creating the attractive matchup of the tournament's two top seeds. Florida beat Tennessee 56-49 in Saturday's first semifinal.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said he's not looking forward to a third game against Florida.

Florida's 18-0 regular-season run through the conference included a sweep of two games against Kentucky. Florida took an 84-65 home win over the Wildcats on March 8 to close the regular season.

"I've had enough of Florida," Calipari said. "It's almost an honor to play a team like that."

The Wildcats improved their record in SEC semifinals to 38-2.

James Young had 14 points and Julius Randle had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky (24-9), which never trailed but led only 36-32 at halftime.

Andrew Harrison, who had 12 points, set his career high in assists again; he had 11 points and eight assists in Friday's 85-67 win over LSU.

"My teammates make me look good right now," he said. "I'm just finding them and they're knocking down shots."

Aaron Harrison has found his shooting stroke in Atlanta. In his last four games before the tournament, he made only 11 of 43 shots. Against Georgia, he made seven of 10 shots, including four of seven 3-pointers.

"I just knocked down some shots," Aaron Harrison said. "My brother got me some great looks and Julius got me some looks."

Kenny Gaines had 13 points, all in the second half, and Charles Mann had 12 for Georgia (19-13), which now likely will wait for a NIT bid.

Georgia coach Mark Fox lobbied for NCAA tournament consideration after the game and noted that Georgia tied Kentucky for second place in the conference at 12-6.

He also acknowledged his team's 6-6 nonconference record and 1-4 start to the season could be too difficult to overcome.

"I realize the body of work argument may put us on the outside," Fox said. "Hopefully we'll be in the postseason somewhere."

Calipari also stood behind Georgia and said the Bulldogs and Tennessee should be in the NCAA field and Arkansas "should be on the edge."

Andrew Harrison had 16 points in the first half but Georgia stayed close and trailed 36-32 at halftime on Marcus Thornton's buzzer-beating layup. It was a rare strong inside move for the Bulldogs, whose attempts near the basket were often influenced by Kentucky's front-line players, including 7-footers Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Georgia was playing in its first SEC semifinal since 2008, the year a tornado hit downtown Atlanta and forced the tournament to move from the Georgia Dome to Georgia Tech's old Alexander-Memorial Coliseum. The Bulldogs beat Kentucky in the quarterfinals before winning the tournament.


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