Arkansas beat Georgia, 60-49, to move onto the final of the 2015 SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. With both teams solidly in the NCAA field entering Saturday's play, this game was one of the few in the SEC Tournament that was solely about advancing for this week and not about locking up an NCAA Tournament berth.
That said, with Arkansas projected as a 5-seed entering Saturday, the Hogs could possibly be considered to move into the top quarter of the NCAA bracket with a potential upset of Kentucky. Given that the Razorbacks suffered a 17-point loss at Kentucky in their match-up earlier in the season, Arkansas will be looking to avenge that poor performance and end the Wildcats' unbeaten streak.
The first half of this semifinal was a slog. Georgia looked like a banged-up team playing a game that was a quick turnaround, and Bobby Portis, the SEC Player of the Year, was held scoreless in the first half for Arkansas. But the Razorbacks held a 25-17 halftime lead.
Georgia's 17 first half-points marked its lowest output in a half on the season (and the 49 points for the game was a season low as well). Of those 17 points, 11 were scored off the bench by Cameron Forte on 5-of-6 shooting while the rest of the Bulldogs roster shot 2-of-19. Juwan Parker was injured again in the first half for Georgia, and sat out the second half with his ankle iced.
The second half was closer, but Georgia never really threatened to win. Senior Taylor Echols, who had scored 27 points on the season, chipped in a career-high 10 second-half points, but the closest the Bulldogs got in the second half was a seven-point margin early in the half.
Michael Qualls paced Arkansas with 15 points and Anthlon Bell added 10 points off the bench. Portis only managed four points in the second half, but led the Razorbacks with 12 rebounds.