UK coasts past USC, ties best start in school history

02/14/2015 03:50 PM

After back-to-back tough road wins at Florida and LSU, No. 1 Kentucky returned home to the friendly confines of Rupp Arena for a dominant 77-43 victory over South Carolina on Valentine’s Day.

The victory extends Kentucky’s perfect record to 25-0, tying the best start in school history (1954).

It seems like Coach Cal wasn’t surprised by his team’s performance after the game.

Sophomore center Dakari Johnson led the way with his second double-double of the season (10 points, 13 rebounds), and Willie Cauley-Stein scored a team-high 14 points highlighted by multiple dunks and alley-oops.

Sindarius Thornwell finished with a game-high 20 points for South Carolina, but no other Gamecock scored in double figures as the vaunted Cat defense smothered USC to the tune of just 24% shooting.

John Calipari challenged his team earlier in the week to not relax with early leads but rather to finish opponents by extending the margin throughout the game. The Cats responded by building a 25-point lead at halftime that grew to 34 by the final buzzer.

UK will next put its perfect record back on the line at Tennessee on Tuesday.

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