Kentucky broke open a tight game early in the second half and ran off to a 82-54 win over Marshall Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena.
The Thundering Herd, down 33-24 at halftime, scored the first seven points of the second period and pulled to within 33-31 with 19:01 left in the game. But that’s when the UK defense clamped down and the offense began to click, as the Wildcats outscored Marshall 28-6 over the next nine minutes.
Kentucky got 23 points from Ryan Harrow, 18 points from Archie Goodwin and 11 points and 12 rebounds from Nerlens Noel as it racked up its fourth straight victory. Next up for the Wildcats (8-3) is fifth-ranked U of L, next Saturday at the Yum! Center in Louisville.
UK shot just 42 percent for the game (35 percent in the first half) and
while its offense might have been ragged, it was clean – they committed just nine turnovers (only four in the first 30 minutes).
Kentucky forced 17 turnovers by Marshall, resulting in 26 points.
The Wildcats led by nine at intermission after a cold-shooting first half that saw Kentucky hit just 13-of-37 from the floor. Fortunately for the home team, the Thundering Herd missed 21 of 29 first-half shots, preventing Marshall from putting any pressure on the Cats once it took a 13-12 lead with 13:57 to play in the half.
The Herd’s shooting went icy cold and Kentucky ripped off an 11-2 run, easing out to a 31-22 advantage with 4:14 to play.
Each team scored exactly two points apiece after that.
Kentucky clearly missed Alex Poythress after the forward committed his second foul and headed to the bench with 14:43 left in the first half. Poythress had hit his only field goal attempt to that point, but he had grabbed three rebounds in the first 6:17.
And still, Calipari chose to start Willie Cauley-Stein to open the second half, keeping Harrow on the bench until the 18:23 mark. Poythress was part of the second-half run that blew open the game for Kentucky.
He fouled out with a minute remaining, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds.
Now the Wildcats have another week between games. The Cardinals are up next, in a matchup where Kentucky will be a decided underdog.