The University of Kentucky women's soccer team defeated Vanderbilt 6-1 Friday at the UK Soccer Complex in Lexington, Ky., to advance to next week's SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. Photo by Chet White
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and the No. 2 Wildcats overcame a slow start with a big run that put away Arkansas-Little Rock 73-51 on Tuesday night at Freedom Hall.
Darius Miller's 3-pointer with 11:03 left put the Wildcats up 45-35 and made him the 58th Kentucky player to score 1,000 points. Kentucky used a 23-1 run to storm past the undermanned Trojans.
Kentucky (14-1) played for the first time since beating then-No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31 and moving up one spot behind top-ranked Syracuse.
Chuck Guy scored 19 points for UALR (5-11).
Kentucky trailed 34-31, after Guy made two free throws with 16:11 left, before the Wildcats took control.
Davis' layup changed the lead for the eighth and final time just over a minute later. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hit a 3-pointer, Davis added a jumper, and Miller made a 3 to join the 1,000-point club and give Kentucky a 45-35 edge with 11 minutes left.
It was 54-35 after Doron Lamb's layup with 8:35 to go. UALR went nearly 10 minutes between field goals before Courtney Jackson's layup.
Miller finished with 15 points, and Terrence Jones added 10 for the Wildcats, who also got 10 rebounds from Kidd-Gilchrist.
Kentucky, picked to win its 45th conference title, will open its SEC schedule against South Carolina on Saturday at Rupp Arena and give its freshman class a taste of the league. Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis have excelled, so far. Davis blocked three more shots to give him 67 for the season and move him into a tie for 10th on the school's single-season blocks list with more than half the schedule to play.
Davis, who leads the nation in the category, came into play Tuesday night with as many or more blocks than 283 Division I teams.
UALR made the NCAA tournament last season, but graduated its top three scorers, including Sun Belt Conference player of the year Solomon Bozeman. Will Neighbour had picked up some of that void, averaging 18.3 points and eight rebounds over the last two weeks, but he injured his right shoulder in the final minute of a win at Denver.
Even with Neighbour out, UALR took it right to the Wildcats early, despite being a 28-point underdog. D'Andre Williams scored 11 points, and Jackson added 11 rebounds.
Guy dove over the Trojans' bench into the second row to unsuccessfully save a loose ball, then nailed consecutive 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the first half. After the sophomore's second, he held three fingers out and pumped his hands in joy as he gave UALR a 30-25 lead, its biggest of the game.
With 14,747 in attendance, there were several thousand empty seats in Freedom Hall, which opened in 1956 and holds nearly 19,000. Kentucky plays an annual home game in the arena even though attendance has lagged in recent years because of lackluster opponents.
The Wildcats won there for the 60th time in 78 games.
UALR led 30-27 at halftime, the third time this season Kentucky trailed at the break.