Aaron Harrison went 7-for-10 from the floor and hit four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points, while Andrew Harrison scored 12 points, dished out a career-high nine assists and grabbed five rebounds to help lead the Wildcats into a championship game matchup with No. 1 Florida on Sunday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
"We're not the same team we were two or three weeks ago," said UK head coach John Calipari, citing the Harrison twins as a big part of the Cats' improvement. "They're starting to come together. It just took time.
"I think a lot of it was the weight of the world was on those guys (with preseason expectations)."
Andrew and Aaron Harrison exchanged congratulations after a UK basket in Saturday's win over Georgia. (USA Today Sports photo by Dale Zanine.)
The twins traded humble commentary on their big performances.
Said Aaron: "My brother got me some great looks, and Julius (Randle) got me some looks. I just knocked down shots."
Andrew countered: "They're making me look good right now."
The latter set new career highs for assists on back to back days with eight on Friday against LSU and nine against Georgia. Not coincidentally, the Cats had back to back games with more assists than turnovers for the first time since Jan. 8 and Jan. 11 against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
Calipari would still not reveal his much-discussed "tweak" to the UK offense, but the improved execution helped the Cats shoot 51 percent (26 of 51) against the Bulldogs, including a 9-for-16 day from beyond the 3-point arc.
"They made shots," Georiga coach Mark Fox said. "The 3-pointers... That's the difference in the game."
Fox also praised the Harrisons: "Those kids have really improved."
The twins weren't the only freshmen to shine for Kentucky (24-9). The Cats also got 12 points and 11 rebounds from Randle, who notched his sixth consectuive double-double and tied the school's freshman record of 20 double-doubles in a season held by DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
Freshman wing James Young added 14 points, while freshman center Dakari Johnson chipped in with six points and eight rebounds for the Cats.
Kentucky pounded Georgia on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 36-21. The Bulldogs had only two second-chance points the entire game.
It was a 36-32 Kentucky lead at halftime. Georgia stayed close for the first seven minutes of the second half until the Cats broke the game open with a 10-2 run that included three straight second-chance scoring trips -- a putback by Johnson, an offensive rebound by Willie Cauley-Stein that turned into a 3-pointer by Aaron Harrison, and a tip-in by Young.
UK, which never trailed in the game, led by as many as 16 after a 3-pointer by Andrew Harrison and a dunk by Young with just under three minutes remaining in the game.
Georgia (19-13) likely saw its NCAA Tournament bubble burst despite playing well late in the season. Kenny Gaines and Chales Mann led the Bulldogs with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Cats now get a third shot at top-ranked Florida (31-2), which advanced to the finals with a hard-fought 56-49 win over Tennessee. The Gators went 18-0 in SEC play during the regular season, including a 69-59 win in Lexington and an 84-65 win in Gainesville.
• Kentucky leads the all-time series with Georgia 117-26, including a 9-1 mark in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs' lone SEC tourney win over the Cats came during the tornado-delayed 2008 event in Atlanta.
• The Cats will play in the SEC tourney finals for the fourth time in the last five years and their 38th championship appearance overall.
• Aaron Harrison's four 3-point makes matched his career high.
• The Cats shot a season-low 50 percent (9 of 18) at the free throw line.