No. 8 Kentucky routs LIU-Brooklyn, 104-75

LIU-Brooklyn coach Jack Perri refused to use the difference in

talent level between his small school and powerhouse Kentucky for a

lopsided loss.

The Blackbirds led 43-40 with four minutes left in the first

half but faded fast and lost to the No. 8 Wildcats on Friday night,

104-75.

”They’re a lot more athletic. But we’ve got to compete at a

higher level,” Perri said. ”I thought Kentucky did a really good

job getting 50-50 balls in the first half, especially.

”I think they beat us 10-2 from my assistants’ calculations,”

he said. ”That’s something that we have to get better at.”

LIU-Brooklyn (0-4) matched Kentucky step for step, leading the

defending national champions by as many as six points 32-26 with

9:22 remaining before halftime – all while the Wildcats (4-1)

maintained a shooting percentage that remained above 70 percent

until the final minutes.

Jason Brickman’s layup with 4 minutes until halftime gave the

Blackbirds a 43-40 lead, and it was the last basket the Blackbirds

would score with a lead. Kentucky’s Alex Poythress hit a pair of

free throws with 3:30 left to spark a 15-0 run that the Wildcats

took into halftime.

”It doesn’t matter if they are big or small,” senior forward

Julian Boyd said, ”you have to stick to the game plan and we just

have to play better from here on out.”

Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere each scored 22 points for the

Blackbirds, who shot 42 percent overall.

Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin each scored 22 points

Kentucky, which won its third in a row.

Fellow freshman forward Nerlens Noel added 18 points, eight

rebounds and five assists for Kentucky. Julius Mays had 15 points

and six assists and rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 for

hot-shooting Kentucky, which finished 42 of 62 from the field (68

percent).

The Wildcats outrebounded the Blackbirds 41-24.

”Obviously not the outcome that we were looking for,” Perri

said. ”We had about 17 minutes in the first half where we were up

42-40, 43-40 and that big run obviously turned the game

around.”

LIU-Brooklyn came at the Wildcats with quickness and scoring.

The Blackbirds averaged 81.4 points per game last season and

entered Friday’s game at 80.7.

Boyd got his team started by scoring eight of their first 15

points, including three straight baskets to provide a 15-13

edge.

LIU-Brooklyn wasn’t afraid to take it inside against Kentucky’s

big men, either.

Olasewere had a dunk and converted a three-point play after a

drive on Noel. Boyd added baskets inside and outside and quick

6-foot guard Jason Brickman came off the bench to contribute a

couple of shots en route to an eight-point half.

The result was LIU-Brooklyn’s biggest lead at 32-26, creating

some uneasiness among the Rupp Arena crowd of 22,221.

”That’s why we wanted to play these kind of teams that would

come after us, not be afraid, come in here with the attitude that

they could win,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

An 8-2 run helped the Wildcats tie the game at 34 and the teams

traded baskets for several minutes before the Blackbirds took their

final lead at 43-40 with four minutes remaining in the half.

Kentucky closed with 15 straight points over the final 3:30 with

the freshmen playing a big role – especially Goodwin, who scored

six of his 15 over that stretch.

The Wildcats finished the half 23 of 33 (67 percent).

LIU-Brooklyn shot 48 percent but missed its last seven.

Kentucky opened the second half with a 13-8 run over 3:54 to

break the game wide open.