LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Alabama's star was getting sick just as
Kentucky's was getting better.
Ramel Bradley had 19 points - including three clutch 3-pointers
- in his return to the lineup as the Wildcats cruised 62-52
Saturday over an Alabama team playing without leading scorer and
rebounder Richard Hendrix, who had the flu.
Kentucky (12-9, 6-2) has been rolling in Southeastern Conference
play, winning five straight games and lurking just behind Tennessee
for first place in the East. The Crimson Tide (13-11, 2-7) has now
lost seven of its last nine.
Bradley, the spark plug senior guard who seldom misses a minute
of a game, let alone an entire one as he did earlier this week
against Auburn, had spent most of the week in bed recovering from a
concussion and stomach virus.
His return to good health was just what the doctor ordered for
Kentucky. He led the team with 19 points.
In two key stretches - first when Alabama was building its own
early lead, then later when it was trying to cut into Kentucky's
advantage - Bradley's 3-pointers gave the Wildcats a boost.
The Crimson Tide had led by eight points early as Kentucky
missed its first seven 3-point attempts. That immediately changed
when Bradley nailed two in the span of 40 seconds to cut the
Kentucky deficit to 23-21.
Midway through the second half, when Alabama pulled to within
three points, Bradley came to the rescue again with a long-range
Derrick Jasper gave Kentucky its only non-Bradley 3-pointer
moments later as the Wildcats were on their way to what turned into
a relatively easy victory.
In the absence of Hendrix, who made the trip to Kentucky but
stayed behind rather than go to the game, guard Mykal Riley led the
Crimson Tide with 19 points.
Hendrix's replacement, sophomore Yamene Coleman, did admirably
in Hendrix's absence with 10 points. He also largely contained
Kentucky's star freshman center, Patrick Patterson, who had 12
points - one of his lowest outputs of the season.