LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Darius Miller hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, and No. 1 Kentucky beat Georgia 79-49 on Thursday night to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 52 games and push its overall run to 21 in a row.
Kentucky (29-1, 15-0 SEC) made an emphatic statement in its final game at Rupp Arena this season with an offensive flurry that nearly equaled the stiff defensive effort the Wildcats have given all season.
Kentucky, the nation’s best defensive team by field goal percentage, made a season-best 15 3-pointers, hitting six in a row in the second half.
Donte’ Williams led Georgia (13-16, 4-11) with 17 points. The Bulldogs were 3 of 19 from 3-point range.
Kentucky coach John Calipari hasn’t lost at Rupp Arena in his three seasons in Lexington, and the Wildcats are poised to make a run at their eighth national title thanks to player of the year contender Anthony Davis and a supporting cast of NBA-worthy talent.
It was the final appearance for Miller and fellow senior Eloy Vargas, but also could be the last time that Davis, fellow freshmen Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague as well as sophomores Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones play at home.
They made sure to make it memorable.
Davis finished with nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks to give him an NCAA-best 140 this season, Lamb had 13 points and Kidd-Gilchrist added 12 as the Wildcats went 15 of 27 from beyond the arc.
Kentucky doubled up Georgia 42-21 just over a minute into the second half on Jones’ layup and the 24,382 fans at Rupp Arena were on their feet again after Jones missed a 3 and Davis followed with a slam that made it 48-24.
Kentucky continued its attack from behind the arc with a 20-2 run that featured six 3-pointers, including two by Lamb, two by Kyle Wiltjer, one by Teague and one by Miller that made it 67-30 with 10:36 left.
Lamb hit two free throws before Georgia finally scored again on a free throw, but the Bulldogs had little reason to keep battling late and fell behind by as many as 41 in the closing minutes.
With their 45th SEC regular-season title wrapped up with a victory Saturday, the Wildcats were playing for NCAA tournament seeding and a chance to finish league play with a perfect record, joining the 1996 and ‘03 squads as the only teams in the conference to accomplish the feat since 1956.
Kentucky hasn’t lost since falling by a point against Indiana on Dec. 10 and is on its longest winning streak since that 2003 team won 26 games before losing in the NCAA regional finals to Marquette.
Georgia lost 57-44 to Kentucky in Athens on Jan. 24, but this one got away from the Bulldogs in a hurry.
The Wildcats came out with a flourish with the first seven points, sparked when Davis scored on the opening possession, blocked Gerald Robinson’s shot on the other end and hit his first 3-pointer in his ninth attempt of the season.
Georgia cut it to 11-8 when Dustin Ware threw up a shot on the dribble earlier than Davis anticipated when leaping for the block for a basket, but Kentucky opened up its first double-digit lead, 19-9, just past the midway point on Wiltjer’s 3-pointer and a free throw by Jones.
Kidd-Gilchrist hit a 3 and Miller hit two more down the stretch of the first half as Kentucky took a 37-19 lead at the break, and the rout was on.
The fans gave several rowdy ovations for Miller, who grew up in Maysville, Ky. One sign titled “Miller To Do” list had three items on it -- Kentucky Mr. Basketball, Kentucky state high school champion and NCAA champion.
Miller has the first two accomplishments and has his best shot at the third this year, a far cry from his tumultuous first season when the Wildcats went to the NIT under Billy Gillispie prompting the coaching change that brought Calipari from Memphis.