LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Patrick Patterson scored 21 points,
including nine during a decisive second-half run, and No. 3
Kentucky beat Austin Peay 90-69 on Saturday.
John Wall added 17 points and six assists while DeMarcus Cousins
had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (11-0), who moved
within one victory of becoming the first college basketball program
to reach 2,000.
Wesley Channels led the Govs (7-5) with 21 points but Austin
Peay couldn't keep up once Patterson got going. The junior forward
took control during a 12-0 run midway through the second half that
gave Kentucky an 82-61 lead.
The win pushed Kentucky coach John Calipari past Adolph Rupp in
the school record book for the best start by a first-year head
coach. Rupp won his first 10 games in 1931.
Kentucky will go for its 2,000th win on Monday against Drexel.
Two days after Bob Knight cited Calipari as a sign of a lack of
integrity in college athletics - a charge Calipari said he
disagreed with - the crowd at Rupp Arena was relatively tame. The
only outward appearance of anger came from a fan who held up a sign
taking a shot at Knight.
It was part of a comedown Calipari feared after Kentucky's last
home appearance, a thrilling, two-point win over North Carolina two
weeks ago. The Wildcats followed that up with another squeaker over
Connecticut before blowing out Indiana.
The high-profile triumphs started speculation that the Wildcats
could run the table. Calipari has done his best to keep his players
grounded - telling reporters he thinks his team was "5-5" at best
- and for periods the Wildcats looked average against the Govs.
Austin Peay cut a 16-point deficit to 49-43 early in the second
half on a play in which even Wall looked human. Wall got tangled up
with Austin Peay's Caleb Anthony at midcourt, with Anthony coming
out with the ball while Wall writhed on the ground in pain.
Wall rolled on the floor for a couple of anxious moments before
limping to the bench. He returned a couple of minutes later, but
was sent back to the bench after sustaining a cut over his left eye
while driving to the basket. Trainers hastily put a bandage over
Wall's eye and he appeared to have no problem with it.
It helped that he could give the ball to Patterson, who has
deferred to his younger teammates for much of the season but took
over after Austin Peay cut it to 70-61 on a 3-pointer by Caleb
Patterson started the run with a layup off a nice pass from
Daniel Orton, then added the free throw after getting fouled. His
two most spectacular points of the day came moments later thanks to
a little bit of ad-libbing by Wall.
Eric Bledsoe was leading the Kentucky break when he hit a
streaking Wall for what appeared to be an alley-oop. Wall had other
ideas, touching the ball to Patterson for a dunk.
Patterson added a tip-in on Kentucky's next possession and
Darnell Dodson followed with a 3-pointer to push it to 80-61 before
Patterson capped the run with a pair of free throws.
The run followed a ho-hum first half in which the biggest
ovation came for seldom-used guard DeAndre Liggins. The sophomore,
a major contributor last season under former coach Billy Gillispie,
has languished in Calipari's doghouse for much of the season. He
sat out the first nine games entirely before making his debut in
the final seconds of last week's victory over the Hoosiers.
The crowd stirred when Liggins made his way to the scorer's
table 6 minutes in, then roared when he was introduced, perhaps a
nod to Liggins' perseverance. Liggins didn't waste any time making
an impact. He tipped in Wall's miss to give the Wildcats an 18-11
lead, then had a 3-pointer roll out moments later.
The boost helped Kentucky take a 49-35 halftime lead, and the
Wildcats used their size to keep it intact. They outscored Austin
Peay 44-16 in the paint, 26-16 on second-chance points and made all
18 free throws.
AUSTIN PEAY (7-5)
Williams 1-4 0-0 2, Campbell 1-10 0-0 2, Fraley 5-6 3-4 13, Brown 2-7 0-0 5, Channels 6-14 4-4 21, Caldwell 0-4 0-0 0, Mosley 1-4 0-0 2, Reaves 0-1 0-0 0, Blake 2-5 2-2 8, Roberson 6-9 3-4 16. Totals 24-64 12-14 69.
Cousins 7-13 5-5 19, Patterson 8-14 5-5 21, Miller 4-7 0-0 11, Wall 6-15 2-2 17, Bledsoe 2-4 2-2 7, Dodson 1-2 2-2 5, Hood 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Krebs 0-0 0-0 0, Stevenson 1-1 0-0 2, Orton 2-3 2-2 6, Liggins 1-2 0-0 2, Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-63 18-18 90.
Halftime-Kentucky 49-35. 3-Point Goals-Austin Peay 9-27 (Channels 5-11, Blake 2-4, Roberson 1-1, Brown 1-2, Caldwell 0-1, Mosley 0-1, Reaves 0-1, Campbell 0-6), Kentucky 8-12 (Wall 3-4, Miller 3-5, Dodson 1-1, Bledsoe 1-1, Liggins 0-1). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Austin Peay 24 (Channels 5), Kentucky 44 (Patterson 9). Assists-Austin Peay 14 (Brown 4), Kentucky 18 (Wall 6). Total Fouls-Austin Peay 17, Kentucky 12. A-23,938.