Twins step up when Kentucky star goes down

Andrew Harrison, above, has 18 points for Kentucky, and identical twin Aaron adds 10.

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Andrew Harrison, above, has 18 points for Kentucky, and identical twin Aaron adds 10.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach John Calipari was so focused on coaching his team that he barely noticed star forward Julius Randle was on the bench being treated for cramps.

Fortunately for the Wildcats, guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison knew Randle wasn't on the floor, and their work in offsetting his absence proved crucial in overcoming No. 6 Louisville.

The identical twin freshmen combined for 28 points, including 11 during a critical second-half stretch with Randle sidelined, helping the 18th-ranked Wildcats earn a 73-66 victory Saturday.

"It always hurts you when you lose a great player," said Andrew Harrison, who went 6-of-16 from the field. "But at the same time, we all knew we had to bring it, and that just means we all had to step it up a little bit."

Randle's 17 first-half points staked Kentucky (10-3) to a 41-36 halftime lead before the 6-foot-9 forward went to the locker room early in the second with leg cramps. He returned but soon limped to the bench with more cramps and spent the rest of the game on the bench.

The Harrison twins amply filled the void, turning a 52-51 deficit with 11:01 left into a 68-58 lead with four minutes left. Andrew Harrison and James Young had 18 points each, and Young added a key 3-pointer during the 17-6 run that helped Kentucky beat its in-state archrival for the fifth time in six meetings.

"Andrew played incredible down the stretch," forward Alex Poythress said.

The Wildcats also earned their first win against a ranked team in four tries. This one was particularly impressive, coming against the defending national champions, who entered with significantly more experience than a Kentucky squad featuring six high school All-Americans.

"I thought we grew up," Calipari said. "We looked like a basketball team."

Louisville (11-2) made only 14 of 22 free throws and failed to capitalize after rallying from the halftime hole.

NO. 2 SYRACUSE 78, NO. 8 VILLANOVA 62: Trevor Cooney had 21 points, Tyler Ennis 20 and C.J. Fair 17 to rally the host Orange (12-0) past the Wildcats (11-1) in a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I. Syracuse was the third unbeaten ranked team Villanova had faced, after wins over then-No. 2 Kansas and then-No. 23 Iowa.

NO. 4 WISC. 80, PRAIRIE VIEW 43: Sam Dekker had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the host Badgers (13-0), who closed out their nonconference schedule with their best start since the 1913-14 squad went 15-0.

NO. 5 MICHIGAN ST. 101, NEW ORLEANS 48: Keith Appling had 16 of his career-high-tying 27 points in the first half for the host Spartans (11-1), who struggled for several minutes before taking control with a 12-0 run midway through the half.

NO. 9 DUKE 82, E. MICH. 59: Jabari Parker had 23 points and Andre Dawkins 20 with a season-high six 3-pointers as the host Blue Devils (10-2) won their fourth straight game.

NO. 15 UCONN 82, E. WASH. 65: Shabazz Napier had 15 points and nine assists to lead the Huskies (11-1) in a home game in Bridgeport, Conn.

NO. 17 MEMPHIS 75, JACKSON ST. 61: Michael Dixon had 14 points, Shaq Goodwin had 13 points and seven rebounds, and the host Tigers (9-2) never trailed.

NO. 21 COLO. 84, GEORGIA 70: Askia Booker had 19 points to lead five players in double figures for the host Buffaloes (11-2), who never trailed.

NO. 23 UMASS 69, PROVIDENCE 67, OT: Derrick Gordon's putback with 1.1 seconds left in overtime lifted the host Minutemen (11-1). The Friars' 13-3 run in the final 4:01 of regulation forced OT.

NO. 24 GONZAGA 74, SANTA CLARA 60: David Stockton had a career-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (11-2) in their West Coast Conference opener.

NO. 25 MISSOURI 68, N.C. STATE 64: Jabari Brown hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 55.1 seconds left to lift the visiting Tigers (11-1).

Women

RUTGERS 66, USF 53: A 25-point first-half deficit proved too much to overcome for the host Bulls (5-7) in their American Athletic Conference opener. Freshman Ariadna Pujol led USF with 17 points.

NO. 22 FSU 76, UT MARTIN 53: Natasha Howard tied a career high with 26 points for the host Seminoles (12-1), who shot 54.5 percent from the floor and won their eighth straight game.

UF 67, G'TOWN 65, OT: Cassie Peoples hit a tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation and a critical 3 in overtime, and Jaterra Bonds had 26 points to lead the host Gators (10-3).

NO. 4 STANFORD 86, FRESNO ST. 54: Chiney Ogwumike had 16 of her 20 points in the first half for the visiting Cardinal (11-1) in its final tuneup before Pac-12 play.

NO. 8 MARYLAND 110, WOFFORD 53: Alyssa Thomas had her second triple double in three games with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for host Maryland (11-1) in the Terrapin Classic semifinals.

NO. 9 BAYLOR 82, MCNEESE ST. 57: Odyssey Sims had 27 points as the Bears (10-1) won their school-record 67th straight home game, the longest streak in the nation.

NO. 13 S.C. 82, SAVANNAH ST. 40: Tiffany Mitchell had 18 points for the host Gamecocks (12-1), who held the Tigers to 26.5 percent shooting.

NO. 14 IOWA ST. 72, HOLY CROSS 50: Nikki Moody had 14 points and 10 assists for the host Cyclones (10-0), who shot 47 percent from the floor.

NO. 17 PURDUE 109, CENT. MICH. 97: Whitney Bays had 24 points to lead the host Boilermakers (10-2), who shot 58 percent and made 15 of 29 3-pointers.

NO. 19 GEORGIA 82, ILLINOIS 60: Shacobia Barbee had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead the host Bulldogs (12-1).

NO. 21 IOWA 88, N. DAKOTA 62: Melissa Dixon had 10 of her 13 points during a 25-4 run that closed the first half for the host Hawkeyes (12-2).

SAINT MARY'S 79, NO. 24 GONZAGA 78, OT: Jackie Nared had 27 points and Danielle Mauldin had 24 points and 23 rebounds as the host Gaels beat the Bulldogs (10-3) in a West Coast Conference opener.

Twins step up when Kentucky star goes down 12/28/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 12:23am]

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