Kentucky routs Northern Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)
Two days after the 6-foot-9, 250-pound forward debuted with 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Wildcats (2-0), he scored 20 points in 28 minutes before later heading to the bench with 14 rebounds against the overmatched Norse (0-2).
Guard Aaron Harrison added 16 points for Kentucky while twin brother Andrew had 13. Alex Poythress contributed nine points while 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein added seven points and 11 rebounds.
Needing a good tuneup with Tuesday's showdown looming against No. 2 Michigan State in Chicago, the Wildcats responded by dominating every area. Kentucky shot 30 of 55 from the field (54.5 percent), outrebounded NKU 51-23 and scored 36 points in the paint.
Daniel Camp's 13 points led Northern Kentucky in the first meeting between the schools located 83 miles apart.
The Wildcats were seeking a better start than in Friday night's 89-57, season-opening rout of UNC-Asheville, the first of three games in five days.
Kentucky's freshmen had a rough first half in that contest and led by just 10 points at halftime before taking control offensively with their athleticism that left UNCA no choice but to foul; Randle had no problem with that, making 11 of 13 from the line en route to 23 points and a double-double.
Coach John Calipari took a mostly positive approach considering it was the first game together for his lauded group of rookies, but he noted a lot of blemishes. For example, his team's lack of defensive effort was something he stressed needed improvement - more against Northern Kentucky rather than Michigan State.
Calipari couldn't complain after Kentucky held NKU to 9-of-31 shooting in the first half on Sunday, though much of that had more to do with the Norse's understandable reluctance to try and drive inside against the bigger Wildcats. That left NKU to try and make things up from beyond the arc, a strategy that yielded just 3-of-18 shooting (16.7 percent) and played right into Kentucky's hands in numerous ways.
The Wildcats tallied just four fast-break points in the first half but had 16 second-chance points thanks to 12 offensive rebounds. They dominated the boards 29-12 through 20 minutes.
Figure in 5-of-13 shooting from long range (38 percent) and it quickly added to the expected lopsided outcome. Leading 16-10 after Poythress' 3-pointer, the Wildcats closed the half with a 32-12 run for a 48-22 lead.
Just two nights after losing its opener 77-76 at Purdue in the final seconds, the Norse endured a rude chapter in their second season playing Division I basketball. And that was just the first half.
They finished 21 of 64 from the field (32.8 percent) including 9 of 35 from beyond the arc.