Indiana's offensive firepower delivers sixth straight sweep of Kentucky stars

mfields@herald-leader.comJune 14, 2014 

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana didn't have its Mr. Basketball for this weekend's all-star games, but that didn't keep the Hoosiers from sweeping Kentucky for the sixth year in a row.

Trevon Bluiett and James Blackmon Jr. combined for 55 points as Indiana beat Kentucky 111-99 in front of 6,520 fans in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night.

Bluiett, a Xavier signee, had 32 points, including five three-pointers, and six rebounds. That was a nice follow-up to his 18 points and eight rebounds in Friday's 104-94 win in Lexington.

IU-bound Blackmon, who torched Kentucky for 41 points in the opener, had 23 points, including five threes, in the rematch. He also had eight assists. His two-game total of 64 points ranks third in series history. George McGinnis had 76 in 1969, and Oscar Robertson 75 in 1956.

Blackmon and Bluiett more than compensated for the absence of Trey Lyles, Indiana's Mr. Basketball, who is recovering from extreme dehydration as he gets ready for summer workouts for John Calipari at Kentucky.

Kentucky all-stars coach Chris O'Hearn admitted Indiana didn't really miss Lyles.

"Blackmon and Bluiett are outstanding shooters, and Indiana's role players are very smart and can hit shots, too," O'Hearn said. "Even without Lyles, they've still got enough size inside to guard us.

"They're just very good."

With Indiana having won 20 of the last 21 games, is this long-running rivalry a rivalry anymore?

"Yes, I would say so," Bluiett said. "We don't give any discredit to Kentucky. They came out, played hard, and gave us a game.

"It shows how important it is to Indiana and Kentucky, and for us to hold this streak means a lot to us."

Tyler Wideman (Butler) had 15 points and 18 rebounds for Indiana. Jeremie Tyler (Ball State) also had 15 points.

Quentin Snider, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball and a Louisville signee, had strong back-to-back performances. After scoring 37 Friday night, Snider had 27 Saturday night. His 64 total points tied him with Blackmon for third place in the rivalry's record book.

Christen Cunningham had 19 points, Kelan Martin contributed 13 points and six rebounds, and Justin Johnson muscled his way to 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Jordan Green had seven points, and Jackson Davis added six points and nine rebounds.

Kentucky couldn't match the firepower provided by Bluiett and Blackmon.

"I thought Trevon played great last night," Indiana Coach David Benter said. "He just didn't make shots he normally makes. He started making them tonight and played fantastic."

As for Blackmon, Benter said Kentucky did a better job guarding him, "but he still had 23 points, eight assists. He was really unselfish."

O'Hearn didn't want to say Kentucky was overmatched, but he hinted at it.

"We can make 1,000 excuses," he said. "But Indiana has a much larger population to choose from.

"We just have to get our process better, and get better preparation."

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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