Kentucky comes to life in 2nd half, races past Arizona State, 72-58
12/12/2015 05:26 PM
LEXINGTON — In what was a dogfight from the opening tip, it was the Kentucky Wildcats who delivered the winning blows in the second half to defeat Arizona State, 72-58, in an NCAA Tournament environment on Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena.
After shooting just 1-11 from distance in the first half, No. 4 Kentucky (9-1, 7-0 home) made five triples after the intermission to open a double-digit lead and pull away for its second consecutive victory.
Kentucky has now won 75 straight home games when ranked as a top-5 team.
Arizona State (7-3) arrived in Lexington on three-game winning streak, including an impressive upset victory over No. 18 Texas A&M. But Sun Devils left their shooting touch on the bus on Saturday, connecting on just 37% (23-62) of their field goal attempts en route to their third loss of the season.
With the Cats leading just 35-33 early in the second half, freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe took over, going on a personal 9-0 to put Kentucky back in control. Those ending up being Briscoe’s only points of the game as he added four rebounds and two assists to his final stat line.
UK avoided possible disaster early in the game when senior forward Alex Poythress disappeared into the locker room with team trainers after suffering an apparent knee injury.
Fortunately, the injury ended up only being an hyperextension to his right, non-surgically-repaired knee, and Poythress was able to return to the court in the second half to post 10 points, six rebounds, and perfect 3-3 shooting from the field.
Freshman guard Jamal Murray also made a piece of UK history in the second half, becoming the first Wildcat to make a three-pointer in each of his first 10 games after connecting from distance with 13:23 left in the game. Murray finished with a game-high 17 points and five assists for Kentucky.
Next up for the Wildcats is a week-long break before traveling to Brooklyn, N.Y., to face Ohio State next Saturday.