LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Brandon Knight scored 22 points and No. 10
Kentucky shot its way past Penn 86-62 on Monday night.
Josh Harrellson added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Darius
Miller had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the
Wildcats (12-2) used some scorching second-half shooting to subdue
the Quakers (5-6).
Kentucky led by just one at the break but hit 12 of its first 13
second-half shots to bust it open. Doron Lamb knocked down a pair
of 3-pointers during a game-clinching 15-2 run that gave the
Wildcats a 66-45 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Tyler Bernardini led Penn with 22 points and Miles Cartwright
added 16 but the Quakers couldn't keep up when Kentucky hit the gas
in the second half. The Wildcats went 18 of 22 (82 percent) in the
second half, numbers that could have been even higher if not for a
couple of misses in garbage time.
Penn led by as much as 12 early but had no answer when the
Wildcats awoke following a sleepy opening 15 minutes.
It was a nap Kentucky coach John Calipari feared after Kentucky
easily dispatched rival Louisville on Dec. 31. He worried about his
team suffering a letdown in a game sandwiched between the annual
showdown with the Cardinals and the opening of Southeastern
Conference play on Saturday.
For a few fleeting moments, Penn did its best to prove
Calipari's fears right.
While Kentucky missed 3-pointers, turned the ball over and
struggled to find any kind of rhythm offensively, the Quakers went
Running down the clock to slow the game down then drilling
jumpers just before the shot clock hit zero, the Quakers built a
31-19 lead behind a steady stream of 3-pointers by Bernardini, who
put together his highest scoring game in nearly two years.
It wouldn't last. Calipari sent DeAndre Liggins out to smother
Bernardini and Kentucky's offense finally woke up. Harrellson
helped, crashing the boards on offense to breathe life into the
Wildcats and giving his teammates a defensive spark by blocking
shot after shot. He swatted a career-high six shots, including two
on one possession.
It wasn't the career-defining 23-point, 14-rebound performance
he put together against Louisville, but it was enough to help the
Wildcats snap out of their funk.
Kentucky ended the half with a 14-1 burst to take a 33-32 lead
into the break, and the Wildcats were just getting started.
Knight, who has been praised by Calipari for learning how to run
the team, led Kentucky through 10 offensively flawless minutes to
start the second half. He knocked down two 3-pointers early in the
half as the Wildcats extended the lead to double-digits.
Kentucky's athleticism eventually wore the Quakers down. During
one sequence Lamb chased down a wayward pass in the corner then
threw it to Harrellson at the top of the key. As Penn's defense
scrambled to get back in position Harrellson flipped the ball to a
wide-open Knight, who calmly splashed his fourth 3-pointer of the
game and the Wildcats were well on their way to a seventh straight
J. Eggleston 3-7 0-0 7, Turley 0-4 0-0 0, Cartwright 5-9 3-4 16,
Rosen 0-4 6-6 6, Bernardini 7-11 5-6 22, Loughery 1-2 0-0 2,
Dougherty 1-3 0-0 2, Gunter 0-0 0-0 0, Rennard 0-1 0-0 0, Howlett
2-7 0-0 4, Gordon 0-0 0-0 0, Belcore 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 20-49 14-16
Jones 3-6 4-6 10, Harrellson 5-7 2-2 12, Miller 5-7 0-0 11,
Knight 8-12 2-2 22, Liggins 2-7 2-2 7, Poole Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Hood
1-1 0-0 2, Polson 0-0 2-2 2, Lamb 6-11 2-3 16, Vargas 2-5 0-0 4.
Totals 32-56 14-17 86.
Halftime-Kentucky 33-32. 3-Point Goals-Penn 8-12 (Cartwright
3-3, Bernardini 3-4, Belcore 1-1, J. Eggleston 1-2, Rosen 0-1,
Rennard 0-1), Kentucky 8-17 (Knight 4-7, Lamb 2-5, Miller 1-1,
Liggins 1-4). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Penn 17 (J. Eggleston 4),
Kentucky 37 (Harrellson 11). Assists-Penn 14 (J. Eggleston, Rosen
4), Kentucky 20 (Miller 6). Total Fouls-Penn 17, Kentucky 10.
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