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Georgia slips past Tennessee in Thursday opener

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Yante Maten returned to action for the Bulldogs.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Georgia vs Tennessee Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The first game of Thursday’s SEC Tournament action went down about like you would expect an 8-9 matchup to go down.

In a game in which neither team led by more than six points at any point, the Georgia Bulldogs kept their dim NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a 59-57 win over the Tennessee Volunteers.

Yante Maten returned for the Bulldogs and scored 12 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. That was outshined, though, by JJ Frazier’s 17 and 10. Sophomore guard Lamonte Turner led Tennessee with 13 points.

Tennessee got off to a slow start but Georgia couldn't take advantage. Instead the two teams settled into a rock fight, with Tennessee leading 27-26 at the half and lots of missed shots on both ends.

Still, Georgia couldn't put the game away until the very end. With the Bulldogs nursing a two-point lead late, Mike Edwards missed two free throws that would have put the game away and Georgia couldn't breathe until Admiral Schofield’s last-second three went off the rim.

The Bulldogs improve to 19-13 on the season and advance to face Kentucky at 1 PM ET on Friday. This will be the third meeting of the season with the Wildcats, and Kentucky won the first two games. Tennessee finishes the season 16-16 and will wait to find out if they’ll get in the NIT.