ATHENS -- Georgia finally has a signature win.
Maybe now the rest of the country will take notice.
The up-and-coming Bulldogs claimed their biggest victory of Mark Fox's two-year coaching tenure, upsetting No. 10 Kentucky, 77-70, on Saturday for their ninth straight win -- the school's longest streak since its 1983 Final Four season.
"This is the type of game we needed to make a run for the NCAA Tournament," said Trey Thompkins, who led Georgia with 25 points. "We feel we can play with anybody."
It's been a while since they felt that way at Georgia.
The program went into a long slide after a 2003 academic scandal that led to the ouster of coach Jim Harrick. The lone highlight since then was an improbable weekend at the tornado-plagued Southeastern Conference Tournament three years ago, when the Bulldogs won the title with a team that finished last during the regular season.
Coach Dennis Felton was fired midway through the next season, then Fox was brought in to rebuild the team.
He's well on his way, though respect has been slow in coming. Even with an impressive record, the Bulldogs (12-2, 1-0 SEC) received only one point in last week's Associated Press rankings.
That should change now.
"We watch TV. We want to be on TV like everybody else is," Thompkins said. "Even our own (scoreboard) has the Top 25. We want to be on there."
Young, talented Kentucky (12-3, 0-1) came in with a seven-game winning streak but struggled to make shots and had three players foul out in the closing minutes.
"We have guys in these positions who have never been here before and we need them to make plays," said coach John Calipari, who has two freshmen as starters and another who gets extensive playing time. "We did a lot of things, but you have to give Georgia credit. They really played well. They rebounded well, shot well and we didn't do the same."
Thompkins hit a key one-handed shot from the baseline with 2:40 remaining. The ball appeared to come up short, but it crawled over the rim to give Georgia a 66-59 lead after it had squandered an 11-point halftime advantage.
"I practice that shot every day in the gym when I'm practicing all alone, because I know I'm going to have to go to it," he said. "Lord willing, it went in."
From there, the Bulldogs clinched it at the line, hitting 11 of 12 free throws, and Kentucky kept missing from beyond the 3-point arc in a futile attempt to catch up.
These are the kind of games Georgia lost a year ago, when it didn't have quite enough depth to finish strong. The Bulldogs have got the hang of it now, winning for the 10th time by single digits.
"The guys have been through the wars now and know how to handle their emotions in these type of games," Thompkins said.
Gerald Robinson added 17 points for the Bulldogs, Travis Leslie 15 and Dustin Ware 10.
BOSTON COLLEGE 86, GEORGIA TECH 75: Corey Raji had a pair of timely baskets to finish with 22 points and nine rebounds, helping Boston College recover from a tough home loss three days earlier to Harvard.
Reggie Jackson led Boston College (12-4, 2-0 ACC) with 25 points on 8 of 9 shooting despite late foul trouble. Georgia Tech led 43-41 less than a minute into the second half, but BC scored 16 of the ensuing 20 points, taking a 57-47 advantage on Danny Rubin's 3 from the top of the key with just over 16 minutes to play.
Kammeon Holsey led the Yellow Jackets (7-7, 0-1) with 18 points, Iman Shumpert had 15 and Mfon Udofia 14.
VIRGINIA TECH 71, FLORIDA STATE 59: Jeff Allen scored 18 of his season-high 24 points in the second half to lift Virginia Tech past FSU.
The Hokies (10-4, 1-1 ACC), who won their sixth straight game, broke open a close contest with a 12-0 run to end the first half and take a 29-19 lead into halftime. They never trailed again.
Chris Singleton paced Florida State with 22 points.
WEST VIRGINIA 65, NO. 13 GEORGETOWN 59: Casey Mitchell scored 28 points and West Virginia forced 18 turnovers on Saturday, taking advantage of another subpar game from No. 13 Georgetown's top seniors.
Mitchell had his best Big East game yet for what is already a spark plug season for the senior, whose scoring average has risen from 3.7 points last season to 17.6 this season. The National Junior College Athletic Association player of the year at Chipola College in 2009, Mitchell went 10 of 19 from the field, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range.
No. 8 UCONN 82, No. 12 TEXAS 81, OT: Kemba Walker, the nation's leading scorer, made a 15-foot jumper with 5 seconds left in overtime to lift the Huskies.
The Longhorns quickly moved the ball to midcourt before calling timeout, but freshman Cory Joseph's juggling 3-pointer after the inbound pass fell well short.
Walker finished with 22 points against a tough defensive effort by Texas that shut him down for long stretches of the game. But Walker came up with the big shot when the Huskies needed it, shooting over Dogus Balbay for the winner.
Connecticut (12-2) ended Texas' 27-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents.