ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Second-ranked Kentucky struggled in a grueling duel but played stifling defense late in the second half to earn a share of the Southeastern Conference East Division title and its 18th consecutive win, 74-66, over No. 22 Georgia.
For the first time during their winning streak, the Wildcats trailed for more than 30 seconds during the second half. Ezra Williams, who scored 17 points, put the Bulldogs up, 54-53, on a turnaround follow shot in the lane with 6:27 left.
That was the last lead for the Bulldogs (17-8, 9-5 SEC East). They did not make another basket until Williams hit a 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining. Meanwhile, five different players scored for the Wildcats (24-3, 14-0) during decisive 15-6 run.
Marquis Estill led Kentucky with 16 points. Chuck Hayes added 15 for the Wildcats, including a key follow shot with 3:30 left that made it 58-54. Cliff Hawkins had steals on consecutive possessions Hawkins and set up a layup by Keith Bogans on the next trip.
Bogans scored 14 points but missed both of his shots from beyond the arc to snap a 29-game streak during which he had hit at least one 3-pointer.
Kentucky pulled into a 54-54 tie when Erik Daniels made 1-of-2 free throws with 5:39 left and moved ahead to stay on a pair of free throws by Estill 41 seconds later.
Estill was limited to 25 minutes by foul trouble but played enough to grab eight rebounds. Hayes led the Wildcats with 12 boards.
Hawkins did not score during Kentucky's key run but hit a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to help ice the victory. Hawkins scored all of his points on 8-of-10 shooting from the line.
In dealing the Bulldogs their first home loss of the season, Kentucky made 28 free throws to Georgia's 14, including a 21-9 advantage in the second half. The game featured nine lead changes and three ties.
Wildcats coach Tubby Smith improved to 10-2 against his former team, which played its first game since a scandal broke earlier in the week involving assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr.'s possible violation of NCAA rules.
Steve Thomas had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Georgia, which also got 11 points from Jarvis Hayes before he fouled out with 2:13 left.