Kentucky blows out South Carolina 77-55
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Julius Mays' 15 points led five Kentucky players in double figures, and the Wildcats blew out South Carolina 77-55 Tuesday night to move within a game of first-place Florida in the Southeastern Conference.
Kentucky (16-6, 7-2) began the night two games behind Florida before the No. 2 Gators suffered their first conference loss, 80-69 at Arkansas, earlier in the evening.
The Wildcats followed with their fourth straight victory and perhaps most complete in conference play as they shot 27 of 44 from the field and outrebounded the Gamecocks 42-25. Kentucky's 61-percent shooting was its third-highest this season.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Archie Goodwin each added 13 points, Ryan Harrow had 12 and Nerlens Noel 10 along with 10 rebounds and five blocks.
Freshman forward Michael Carrera scored a game-high 18 points with six rebounds for South Carolina (12-10, 2-7), which lost its third in a row and fifth in the past six games.
The Gamecocks have found the going rough in the first half of their SEC schedule, with their only league victories coming against LSU and Arkansas. They entered Tuesday having lost four of their past five games, including Saturday's defeat to Georgia.
Shooting and rebounding have been the obvious culprits for South Carolina in those recent losses. The Gamecocks haven't shot above 37 percent and have been outrebounded by a 152-127 margin in the four defeats.
Those numbers toughened South Carolina's mission at Rupp Arena, where it hasn't won since 2009. Especially since Kentucky entered the game leading the SEC in defensive rebounds (27.6), second in field goal defense (39 percent) and third in rebounding margin (plus-3.5) in league play.
Noel has been a big part of that, leading the nation in blocks (4.6 per game) and the SEC with 9.8 rebounds in league play.
South Carolina made just 29 percent from the floor (17 of 59).
Wildcats coach John Calipari has wished teammates would be as fierce as Noel. Despite their recent surge, the coach has lamented his team's lack of toughness, especially with the ball after Kentucky committed a season-worst 19 turnovers in an overtime win at Texas A&M.
That Wildcats' weakness left them trailing 18-17 after 9:38 when they had a chance to exploit the Gamecocks' early inaccuracy. South Carolina missed its first five shots before Michael Carrera's putback 4:06 in, cutting Kentucky's lead to 11-4.
A 14-7 run over the next 6:32 gave the Gamecocks their only lead, a turnaround helped by seven Wildcats' turnovers through 10 minutes. Kentucky quickly regrouped with 11 straight points and closed the half with a 28-6 run.
Harrow and Goodwin, two players Calipari said needed to step up, each scored 10 points as the Wildcats were a white-hot 15-of-22 shooting (68 percent) in the first half.
Noel meanwhile had four blocks to extend shooting woes for South Carolina, which shot just 9 of 32 (28 percent) by intermission.
The Gamecocks never got closer than 15 in the second half.
Updated February 5, 2013
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.
We check in with ESPN's great play-by-play man Mike Tirico for a look around the NFL, and a preview of Pats/Browns.
We tackle four topics centered on the movers and shakers in MLB right now.
We start talking about Robbie Cano and the reported 10 year, 240 million dollar contract on the table from the Mariners, and a little debate about him vs Pedroia broke out.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Mike Lupica of the Daily News joined the show to give the New York reaction to the Ellsbury signing. He said that the Yankees drastically overpaid.More from this show
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.More from this show
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.More from this show
Buster Olney joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees and the possibility of the Red Sox trading for Andre Ethier.More from this show