WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Kentucky holds off Louisville, 71-62

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - DeMarcus Cousins scored 18 points and matched a season-high with 18 rebounds to lead No. 3 Kentucky past rival Louisville 71-62 on Saturday.

Patrick Patterson and John Wall added 17 points each for the Wildcats (15-0), who matched their best start in 40 years by breaking a two-game losing streak to the Cardinals.

Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith led Louisville (10-4) with 11 points apiece but the Cardinals shot just 32 percent and couldn't contain Wall when it mattered.

The freshman star shook off a slow start by scoring six straight points during a decisive 14-3 run late in the second half after the Cardinals had surged to the lead.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino was booed lustily early by the record Rupp Arena crowd, but the crowd quickly moved on after the Cardinals erased a 13-point deficit.

Louisville pulled in front 42-41 on a free throw by Terrence Jennings with 9:51 remaining before Wall went to work.

He hit a tough leaner along the baseline to put Kentucky back in front then added a pull-up jumper to extend the lead to three. He stripped the ball from Louisville's Peyton Siva and knocked down a pair of free throws after being fouled trying to finish on the break.

Perry Stevenson added a reverse layup, Ramon Harris drilled a 3-pointer and Patrick Patterson converted a three-point play to give Kentucky a 55-45 lead with 5:35 to go.

Louisville kept scrapping but would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Pitino and former friend turned friendly rival John Calipari shook hands briefly as the horn sounded, both coaches only too happy to put one of the most contentious meetings in the series' long history behind them.

The teams combined for 51 personal fouls - including five technicals - and 37 turnovers in a game that made up for in passion what it lacked in precise play.

Calipari said before the game he wasn't sure if his young team understood the magnitude of the rivalry.

He needed 45 seconds to get his answer.

The Wildcats were whistled for a pair of fouls on Louisville's first possession, the calls kick starting a series of trash talking shoving matches that kept the referees busy.

Things grew more heated moments later when Cousins and Louisville forward Jared Swopshire got tangled up battling for a loose ball. Louisville's Reginald Delk came over and gave Cousins a push while Swopshire tried to wiggle free.

All three players received technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Cousins stayed in the game long enough to score Kentucky's first six points as the Wildcats swarmed the shaky Cardinals into bad shots and turnovers.

Louisville missed 18 of its first 19 shots and looked overwhelmed by the electric atmosphere.

Kentucky was hardly better. Wall, looking mortal for the first time all season, couldn't get going against the myriad of defenders the Cardinals threw at him.

Kentucky led just 27-19 at the break before Louisville briefly got into a rhythm behind Sosa and Smith. Yet it wasn't enough as the smaller Cardinals wore down over the final 7 minutes against the tallest team in the country.

The Wildcats outscored Louisville 40-24 in the paint, with Cousins dominating his matchup with Louisville center Samardo Samuels. Samuels finished with nine points and nine rebounds, turned it over three times and was muscled out of the way by Cousins.

Cousins kept his emotions in check for the most part and capped the win with a thunderous dunk with 37.2 seconds left that put the Wildcats up 68-57 as the crowd erupted.

Calipari had urged fans to behave themselves, and for the most part they obliged.

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 71, Louisville 62

Team Records and Series Notes
• Kentucky is 15-0 while Louisville is 10-4, ending a five-game win streak by the Cardinals.
• Kentucky’s 15-0 start is its best since the 1969-70 squad opened with 15 consecutive wins.
• This is the fifth time in school history that the Wildcats have begun a season with at least 15 straight wins.
• This was the 600th game of Coach John Calipari’s career. He has tallied a 460-140 (.767) record.
• John Calipari’s 15-0 start is the best start by a UK coach in his augural season in UK history.
• This is the seventh time in John Calipari’s collegiate coaching career that he has had a winning streak of at least 15 games.
• Kentucky leads the Louisville series, 27-14.
• The Wildcats are 165-70 all-time against the current membership of the BIG EAST Conference, including an earlier win this season against Connecticut.
• Today’s attendance of 24,479 is a Rupp Arena attendance record. The previous mark was 24,468 earlier this season vs. North Carolina.
• After a mid-week open date, the Wildcats open Southeastern Conference action on Sat. Jan. 9 at home against Georgia. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. and will be a regionally syndicated telecast on the SEC Network.

First-Half Notes
• Kentucky used the starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins for the 13th time this season.
• Kentucky scored first when Louisville was assessed a technical foul at the 19:15 mark and Cousins made two foul shots.
• Cousins made the first six points of the game, adding a tip-in at 18:58 and a jump hook at 18:22.
• Louisville got on the board at 16:26 with a Samardo Samuels free throw, making the score 6-1.
• Patterson got the game’s first three-pointer at 14:45, giving Kentucky a 9-1 lead. Patterson's 3-pointer extended UK's streak to 726 consecutive games with a 3-pointer, the third-longest streak in the nation.
• After 14 misses to open the game, Louisville got its first basket at 10:53 on a Samuels tip-in.
• Kentucky led by as many as 13 points at 18-5. The Wildcats had a drought, however, going without a basket for nine minutes, from 12:04 to 3:03.
• Louisville used a 7-0 spurt to pull within 18-12.
• The Wildcats got a great play with 1:35 to go. After a missed shot was loose in the lane, DeAndre Liggins darted in to tip the ball to Patterson, who swooped in for a dunk, putting UK ahead 25-12.
• In the final eight seconds, Louisville got two foul shots from Reginald Delk and three from Preston Knowles to pull within 27-19 at halftime.
• UK and UofL combined for 46 points in the first half. This was the lowest scoring first half of the Kentucky-Louisville series since Jan. 21, 1922, when the teams combined for 21 points (UK 11-10; UK went on to win that game, 29-22).

Second-Half Notes
• Cousins reached a double-double on a basket with 15:23 remaining.
• Trailing 41-33, Louisville went on a 9-0 run, taking its first lead at 42-41 on a Terrence Jennings foul shot with 9:51 on the clock.
• UK bounced back with eight straight points, the first six by Wall, as the Wildcats went back up 49-42.
• Kentucky increased the lead to 12 at 60-48 with 3:44 to go. Louisville got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

Team Notes
• Louisville missed its first 14 field-goal attempts and Kentucky eventually limited the Cardinals to 32.2 percent from the field
o It is the 10th time in 15 games that UK has held the opponent under 40 percent shooting.
o It is Louisville’s lowest shooting percentage of the season.
• UK won points in the paint, 40-24.
• The Wildcats also had a significant advantage in points off turnovers, 26-15.

Individual Notes
• DeMarcus Cousins totaled 18 points and 18 rebounds.
o It is his fourth-consecutive double-double and eighth of the season.
o Cousins is the first Wildcat to have four-straight double-doubles since Patrick Patterson achieved the feat last season.
o Cousins tied a UK/UofL series record for rebounds. Louisville’s Bob Lochmueller had 18 boards in 1951.
• Patrick Patterson had 17 points, scoring in double figures in 14 of 15 games this season.
• John Wall scored 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
o When UK trailed 42-41, Wall scored six straight points, two baskets and two foul shots, to put the Wildcats back on top for good.
o Wall and Eric Bledsoe had four assists each, tying game-high honors.
• Eric Bledsoe tallied 12 points, 10 in the second half.
o Bledsoe went 6-of-6 at the foul line, all coming in the second half.
o Bledsoe and John Wall each had a game-high four assists.

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