In a matchup of the last two NCAA national champions, No. 18 Kentucky beat No. 4 Louisville in Rupp Arena Saturday. The Wildcats, who got 18 points from Andrew Harrison and James Young, built a 10-point second half lead and held off a late Louisville rally.
Louisville rushed to a quick 8-0 lead in the first two minutes and appeared to catch a big break when Wayne Blackshear hit the deck after getting hit by Julius Randle, but Blackshear was called for a block, his second foul.
Kentucky responded with an 11-2 run to take an 11-10 lead three minutes later. The score was tied at 12 and again at 14 before Louisville took a 16-14 lea don a runner by Chris Jones. A three by Young gave UK the lead again, and Luke Hancock was whistled for a foul as Young tried another three a possession later.
After Kentucky took a 19-16 lead on Young's three free throws, a three by Jones evened the score up. Jones gave UofL the lead on its next possession, but Young put UK up 22-21 on a three from the top of the key with 8:51 remaining.
Young's three was the start of a 9-2 run for the Wildcats that saw UK build a 28-23 lead with just under six minutes left in the half. Kentucky continued to push ahead, leading 34-25 three possessions later.
Louisville fought back, getting a jumper from Russ Smith and a three by Terry Rozier to cut the Kentucky lead to 34-30 by the 3:03 mark. A three-point play by Young stopped the Louisville momentum and put UK up 37-30, but Smith answered with a quick jumper.
UK was up 38-32 with just over a minute left when Randle hit a driving jumper in the paint. Louisville answered with a layup by Hancock, but Randle was fouled and hit 1-2 free throws to push UK's lead to 41-34.
A dunk by Smith cut the margin back to five, and, after a pair of missed free throws by Andrew Harrison and a missed three by Jones, UK went into the locker room up 41-36. Randle led all scorers with 17 while Jones had 15 and Smith had 10.
After Kentucky scored the first basket of the second half to increase its lead to seven points, Louisville scored five straight to cut the margin to 43-41 with 19:05 remaining. A layup by Smith tied the score a possession later.
A pair of free throws by Andrew Harrison gave UK the lead again, but Smith answered with a driving layup to tie the score again at 45. Kentucky scored six of the next seven points including a pair of baskets by Aaron Harrison.
With Kentucky leading 51-46, a three by Hancock cut the margin back to two points and a steal and layup by Jones tied the score at 51 with 11:01 left. A free throw by Jones gave Louisville the lead 52-51, but Andrew Harrison hit a driving layup to give UK a 53-52 lead.
A free throw by Smith tied the score with 8:43 left, but UK regained the lead on a jumper by Young. Andrew Harrison hit a layup and was fouled with 7:42 left, bringing the crowd in Rupp to its feet.
With UK's lead back at five points, Louisville needed an answer, but a turnover gave UK an easy layup and forced Pitino to call a timeout. Louisville got a three from Hancock to stop the run, but Young hit a three to answer at the other end.
A free throw by Alex Poythress put UK up 64-56 with just under six minutes left, and a layup by Poythress pushed UK's lead to double-digits for the first with 5:13 left.
A pair of free throws by Montrezl Harrell cut the margin back to eight, but a driving runner by Aaron Harrison pushed the lead back to 10. A 1-2 trip to the line for Stephan Van Treese, and a pair of free throws by Wayne Blackshear cut the margin to 68-61 with 2:41 left.
A free throw by Andrew Harrison pushed the lead back to eight. Russ Smith had a chance to cut into the lead, but missed a pair of free throws with just over two minutes left. A dunk by Poythress put Kentucky back up by 10 and was met with a raucous cheer from the home crowd.
A free throw and then later a dunk by Blackshear cut UK's lead to 71-64 with 54.8 seconds left. A tip-in by Harrell cut the margin to 71-66 after a pair of missed free throws by Andrew Harrison. Louisville fouled Andrew Harrison again with 24.6 seconds left. He hit 1-2, but Louisville couldn't take advantage, turning the ball over on the next possession.
Blackshear picked up his fifth foul with 15.7 seconds left, and Young hit 1-2 to put UK ahead 73-66.