Morehead State 40

(4-2, 1-2 away)

(10) Kentucky 71

(5-1, 5-0 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 8, 2004

    Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky

    1 2 T
    MORE 23 1740
    #10UK 29 4271

    Top Performers

    Morehead St: C. Burns 5 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Kentucky: K. Azubuike 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    Wildcats open second half with 20-0 run

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A strong defensive effort helped Kentucky overcome poor shooting against instate rival Morehead State on Wednesday night.

    Kelenna Azubuike scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Wildcats (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) to a 71-40 victory, holding the Eagles to their lowest point total in 26 years.

    Kentucky (5-1) was coming off its first loss of the season, at No. 8 North Carolina on Saturday. Against Morehead State, Kentucky was just 3-of-18 from 3-point range and shot 39.4 percent from the field but still won going away. Kentucky has won its last 17 games after a loss.

    "Some days you're up," Wildcats coach Tubby Smith said. "Some days you're a feather duster, and some days you're a peacock. That's just life."

    Kentucky scored the first 20 points of the second half to turn a tight game into a runaway. Three other players scored in double figures for the Wildcats, including senior forward Chuck Hayes, who recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

    Reserve center Shagari Alleyne had 11 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots -- all season-highs -- for Kentucky.

    "He had probably the best night of anyone as far as all-around play," Smith said.

    Morehead State (4-2) trailed only 29-23 at halftime, but the Eagles didn't get their first second-half basket until 11:07 remained. Morehead State -- coached by Kyle Macy, a member of Kentucky's 1978 NCAA championship team -- shot 27.3 percent from the field and committed 24 turnovers.

    "They're very talented. I don't think that's a news flash," Macy said of the Wildcats. "I would have liked it if we had responded better and walked out of the gym with our heads up."

    Morehead State had the fewest points by a Kentucky opponent since South Carolina lost 74-40 to the Wildcats in February 1999. It was the fewest points scored in a game by Morehead State since early in the 1978-79 season, when the Eagles had 37 in a loss to Indiana.

    "We shot well standing at the free throw line," Macy said. "But you don't get many of those opportunities in the halfcourt game."

    Josh Reed had 10 points for Morehead State, which went 5-of-6 from the free throw line, compared to 16-of-24 for Kentucky.

    During Kentucky's 20-0 run, Azubuike scored nine points and Patrick Sparks had eight -- including two 3-pointers -- and an assist on a dunk by Randolph Morris. Sparks finished with 10 points, six assists, three steals and no turnovers.

    The run put Kentucky up 49-23 with 14:54 left. Morehead State came no closer than 21 points the rest of the way, and the Wildcats extended the lead to as many as 35 points.

    "We came out early and didn't play very well," said Azubuike, who scored 20 or more points for the third straight game. "At the half (Smith) was really mad. He got on us really good.

    "A lot of times when the switch is off, it stays off. We just need to play well the whole game if we're going to be consistent and be a good team," Azubuike said.

    Kentucky took leads of 8-0 and 24-8 as Morehead State made only three of its first 17 field goal attempts. The Eagles didn't reach double digits on the scoreboard until almost 12 minutes into the game.

    But Kentucky went scoreless for more than 6 minutes, allowing the Eagles back in the game. A 12-0 run cut the Kentucky lead to four, and the Eagles came as close as 26-23 before Kentucky took the 29-23 halftime lead.

    Kentucky is 8-0 all-time against Morehead State. The schools are located about 65 miles apart.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 40 71
    FG Made-Attempted 15-55 (.273) 26-66 (.394)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-21 (.238) 3-18 (.167)
    FT Made-Attempted 5-6 (.833) 16-24 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 35

    2004-05 Season

    » Dec 8, 2004 @UK 71, MORE 40Recap