Thursday, December 11, 2014

No. 1 Kentucky Survives Scare from Upset-Minded Columbia

(1) Kentucky 56
Columbia 46

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Top-ranked Kentucky gave up the first 11 points, still trailed at halftime and finally shook off a slow start to beat pesky Columbia 56-46 on Wednesday night.

In a college basketball season already marked by several big upsets, the Wildcats (10-0) got their toughest challenge yet from the Ivy League Lions. Columbia led for nearly 27 minutes before Aaron Harrison and the Wildcats took control.

Set to face North Carolina, UCLA and Louisville in their next three games, the Wildcats had trouble from the outset against Columbia (5-3). Coach John Calipari was forced to call a timeout as the Lions took an 11-0 lead.

The Wildcats clamped down on defense to make several stops in the second half and took the lead for good at 36-34 on Derek Willis' two free throws with 13:18 remaining.

Harrison scored 14 points and Willie Cauley-Stein added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Kentucky. Injured freshman guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker didn't play.

Maodo Lo scored a game-high 16 points for Columbia.

Kentucky used its size and strength to rally, and avoided adding its name to the list of recent surprises.

A month into the new season, Michigan lost to New Jersey Institute of Technology, defending NCAA champion Connecticut fell to Yale, Indiana was edged by Eastern Washington, Purdue lost to North Florida and Drexel was beaten by Philadelphia University of The Sciences.

Kentucky's sluggish performance for much of the game was a far cry from Sunday's drubbing of Eastern Kentucky, a game that showed no letdown after last week's big win over Texas.

Complete Recap

Box score (click to enlarge):

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