Exhibition: Kentucky 125, Morehouse 40

Kentucky dominates from the start, routs Morehouse 125-40

Kentucky 2 points shy of Rupp scoring record

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 8, 2011 

For Kentucky, a 125-40 exhibition victory over Morehouse on Monday night was a seamless 40-minute domination and perhaps a chilling message to regular-season opponents.

No doubt it erased the memory of getting pushed around a bit in last week's exhibition against Transylvania.

"Everyone realized we can't play like that," walk-on Sam Malone said.

Noting that UK made 72.7 percent of its shots, Morehouse Coach Grady Brewer said, "So everybody looked good. Even my sister, if she was in Kentucky blue tonight, she'd look good."

Kentucky, which came within two points of a Rupp Arena scoring record (127 against Louisiana State in 1995), buried Morehouse under an ever-growing pile of good defense, good offense, good everything.

"That's what I was looking for," said UK Coach John Calipari, adding that the Cats showed the toughness and defense he emphasized in post-Transy practices.

After scoring the game's first 10 points, Kentucky never looked back nor eased off the accelerator.

Freshman Kyle Wiltjer led seven UK players in double digits with 26 points. Terrence Jones added 22, followed by Anthony Davis with 21, Doron Lamb 12, Marquis Teague 12, Darius Miller 11 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 11.

In the first half, Kentucky had nearly as many dunks (10) as Morehouse had points (13). For the game, the Cats had 13 dunks. Morehouse had 15 baskets.

The opening 20 minutes were so one-sided that UK fans, who never grow tired of seeing a sacrificial lamb bloodied, seemed to sympathize with Morehouse. The roar greeting each dunk subsided.

UK gave fans plenty of reasons and time to feel sorry for the opponent. The Cats led by 20 barely five minutes into the game, by 30 with 12:52 left, by 40 at the 7:50 mark and by 50 with almost six minutes remaining in the first half.

Calipari had lamented the slow start against Transylvania. If the insertion of freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was supposed to cause Kentucky to blaze out of the blocks, it worked wonderfully.

"He's not nasty," Calipari said in response to a question about Kidd-Gilchrist. "He just plays that hard. It forces you to raise your level. If you don't, you stand out. ... It makes you either mad, or you say, 'I've got to step this up.' "

With Kidd-Gilchrist scoring seven of his team's first 14 points, Kentucky made its first 10 shots (six of them dunks). UK didn't miss until Lamb, who came off the bench, misfired on a three-pointer with 14:21 left. That also marked the Cats' first three-point attempt, which also explained how UK fully exploited its size advantage. Against Transy, Calipari called an early time out after UK attempted only three-point shots in the opening minutes.

UK starters did not miss a shot in the first half, going 19-for-19. "I never heard of that," Calipari said. They finished 31-for-34.

The Cats stayed on message defensively, limiting Morehouse to 5-for-30 shooting in the first half and 15-for-66 overall. The Maroon Tigers, who committed 26 turnovers and got credit for only four assists, did not reach double-digit points until a basket with 1:34 left in the first half.

Even when a miscue seemed likely, Kentucky converted. Most memorably, Teague had to extend himself to catch up to an outlet pass. Instead of forcing a shot from nearly under the basket, he tossed the ball off the glass. Jones dunked the intentional miss and smiled broadly as he retreated on defense.

Kentucky led 74-13 at halftime.

Nothing changed as the second half began. More UK defense. More Morehouse turnovers. More UK fast breaks. UK enjoyed a 33-0 advantage in fast-break points.

Kentucky reached 100 points with 11:28 left.

With about 10 minutes left, UK tried out a 2-3 zone. The Cats could have played H-O-R-S-E or any other playground game.

Any sense of competitive basketball was long gone.

Calipari cleared his bench after a timeout with 6:30 left. UK led 115-32.

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