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Alert freshman sparks Kentucky

Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins (34) battles a host of players, including several teammates, for a rebound during the first half in the Wildcats’ victory over Notre Dame.

Associated Press

Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins (34) battles a host of players, including several teammates, for a rebound during the first half in the Wildcats’ victory over Notre Dame.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terrence Jones had 27 points and No. 17 Kentucky avoided its first losing streak under coach John Calipari with a 72-58 victory over No. 23 Notre Dame on Wednesday night in the SEC/Big East Invitational.

Jones had been chastised by Calipari for taking a pregame nap before a loss to North Carolina on Saturday, a game in which Jones had nine points on 3-of-17 shooting.

The freshman forward had no such problems against the Irish. He made 9 of 18 shots, including a huge 3-pointer with just more than two minutes left, grabbed 17 rebounds and added some late free throws for Kentucky (6-2).

Ben Hansbrough led the Fighting Irish (8-1) with 21 points but scored two in the second half as Kentucky's defense clamped down. Notre Dame went without a field goal for more than 12 minutes spanning the halves, allowing Kentucky to turn an 11-point deficit into a seven-point lead it would never give up.

Kentucky's lack of interior depth had been exploited while losing to the Tar Heels, as Jones, Josh Harrellson and Eloy Vargas all struggled with foul trouble.

The trio managed to stay on the court against the Irish, helping the Wildcats control the glass. Kentucky outrebounded Notre Dame 42-34 and held the Irish to just 20 percent shooting in the second half.

Brandon Knight added 20 points and five assists for Kentucky, which made 17 of 22 free throws (77 percent), well above its season average of 64 percent.

Notre Dame, which rode the hot hand of Hansbrough to the lead, struggled when the game grew more physical in the second half. Notre Dame missed 5 of 6 free throws over the final 3:48 and had no answer for Jones.

NO. 1 DUKE 83, BRADLEY 48: Andre Dawkins had a career-high 28 points in his first start for the host Blue Devils (9-0), who gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 877th win, breaking a tie for third with Adolph Rupp.

NO. 3 PITT 70, DELAWARE ST. 42: Reserve Dante Taylor had a career-high 14 points and added 10 rebounds for his first career double double for the host Panthers, who improved to 10-0 for the seventh time in eight seasons.

NO. 6 UCONN 78, FDU 54: Kemba Walker had 21 points against Fairleigh Dickinson to lead four players in double figures for the host Huskies (8-0), who broke a pattern of struggling against lesser opponents.

NO. 12 VILLANOVA 65, PENN 53: Senior guard Corey Stokes had a career-high 34 points, including seven in a key second-half stretch for the visiting Wildcats (8-1), who had a season low in points but won their eighth straight game over the Quakers.

NO. 15 MIzzou 85, VANDY 82, OT: Marcus Denmon made a clinching three-point play off his steal with 5.8 seconds left, and host Missouri (7-1) won its 51st straight home game against nonconference teams.

NO. 16 ILLINOIS 74, OAKLAND, MICH. 63: Demetri McCamey had 29 points, including 11 straight in a key second-half stretch, and the host Illini (9-1) rallied. McCamey's three-point play with just less than 15 minutes left in the game gave Illinois its first lead at 37-36.

NO. 18 BYU 86, VERMONT 58: Jimmer Fredette had 26 points for the Cougars (9-0) in his hometown of Glens Falls, N.Y., the second of four straight neutral-site games for Brigham Young.

NO. 22 MINN. 83, ST. JOSEPH'S 73: Devoe Joseph had 19 points, including a 3-pointer to start a key second-half stretch, to lead the Gophers (8-1) in their first road game in the United States. Their only other road games were in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

NO. 24 LOUISVILLE 61, SAN FRAN 35: Peyton Siva and Terrence Jennings scored 14 each for the host Cardinals (7-0), who led 25-24 at halftime before holding the Dons to five field goals in the second half.


NO. 12 UNC 87, ETSU 47: Italee Lucas had 13 points to lead four players in double figures, and the host Tar Heels (9-0) used a 26-0 second-half run to improve to 12-0 against East Tennessee State.

NO. 13 OKLA. 84, STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 57: Morgan Hook hit seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 26 points, and the host Sooners (8-1) rebounded from their first loss.

NO. 15 MICH. ST. 55, WIS.-MILWAUKEE 48: Brittney Thomas and Porsche Poole had 11 points each for the host Spartans (8-1), who closed the game on a 13-8 run to win their sixth straight.

NO. 18 NOTRE DAME 79, PROVIDENCE 43: Natalie Achonwa had 13 points off the bench and Erica Solomon added 11 for the visiting Irish (7-3), who broke it open with a 16-0 second-half run in their Big East opener.

NO. 20 ST. JOHN'S 71, SETON HALL 52: Eugenia McPherson had a career-high 20 points to lead the host Red Storm (8-1) in its Big East opener.

NO. 21 TEXAS 112, TEXAS-PAN AM 59: Chelsea Bass had a career-high 29 points for the host Longhorns (5-2), who opened with a 20-0 run and cruised coming off road losses at Stanford and Michigan State.

TAMPA 79, AVE MARIA 58: Taja Green tied her career high with 25 points, and the Spartans (5-2) won their 22nd straight home game.

ECKERD 66, NORTHWOOD 53: Ashley Lutz had 17 points and Taylor Young 15 as the visiting Tritons (6-2) won for the third time in four games.

Alert freshman sparks Kentucky 12/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:17am]
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