ATHENS, Ga. -- The result was the same, only this time Tubby Smith came away with a victory.
Allen Edwards and Wayne Turner came alive in the second half Tuesday night, helping No. 6 Kentucky to a 90-79 win over Georgia and giving Smith a win in his first trip to Athens since leaving the Bulldogs after last season.
Edwards scored all of his 19 points and Turner had 14 of his game-high 20 points after halftime.
During Smith's two seasons at Georgia, he led the Bulldogs to their first-ever consecutive 20-victory seasons before succeeding Rick Pitino at Kentucky last May. Smith, however, was winless in five tries against Kentucky, including a 95-68 drubbing in last season's Southeastern Conference championship game.
The Wildcats beat Georgia for the ninth straight time and 16th in the last 17 meetings.
``It was good to be back, but it's good to leave with a win, too,'' Smith said. ``I really wanted it to be a great game where they played our best and we played our best.''
It didn't work out that way. Kentucky (13-2, 2-0 SEC) led 9-1 as Jeff Sheppard scored five points, and Georgia (8-6, 0-2) could never catch the Wildcats, trailing 35-26 at the half and 66-50 with 4:22 left on a layup by Nazr Mohammed.
Kentucky shot 50 percent (28-56) from the field, Georgia only 44 percent (30-for-68).
``This is what sports is all about competition. The best team wins. Tonight the best team was Kentucky,'' Smith said.
The Georgia-Kentucky game had another first, Smith's initial time coaching against his son, G.G. Smith, Georgia's junior point guard, who scored eight points, on 3-of-9 shooting.
Coaching against G.G ``was tough,'' Smith admitted. ``I didn't think about it while the game was going on, but at the end it crossed my mind and crossed my heart that he was struggling. ``I don't feel much ecstasy. It feels good to get the win, but when you're competing against friends and family, it's tough,'' he said.
``He (G.G.) gave a gutty performance. He plays his guts out each night,'' said Georgia coach Ron Jirsa, an assistant under Smith at Georgia and Tulsa.
``That's something we need some other guys to do. He's the leader and the rest of the team is somewhere out there some nights,'' a terse Jirsa said as his Bulldogs fell to 0-2 in the SEC for the first time since 1991.
The capacity crowd of 10,523 greeted Smith warmly when he appeared about 15 minutes before the nationally televised game (ESPN), shaking hands with well-wishers and signing autographs before and after the game.
The cheers for the former Georgia coach were far greater than the jeers.
``I wanted to see all the good people and say hello because they are special folks here,'' Smith said. ``I really felt a warm welcoming coming back.''
Saul Smith, a freshman guard who opted to go to Kentucky with his dad after playing high school ball last season in Athens, wound up playing 10 minutes and connected on a pair of 3s, including one with 4.3 seconds befre the half to give the Wildcats an 11-point lead.
``It wasn't an emotional game, it was just another game for us,'' said Jirsa, who hugged Tubby Smith in an emotional embrace moments before tipoff.
``The media made more out of it because it was a good story,'' he said. ``Tonight, we just got outplayed by Kentucky and lost the game.''
Georgia's top two scorers, Ray Harrison (14.2) and Jumaine Jones (13.9), failed to score in the first half. Harrison, who missed all three of his first-half shots, was 5-for-10 in the second half and led the Bulldogs with 17 points.
Jones, a highly regarded freshman from Camilla, Ga., had his worst night of his first season, shooting 1-for-5 and finishing with two points in 24 minutes. Michael Chadwick added 16 points for Georgia.
(Copyright 1998 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)