Sunday, February 1, 2015

No. 1 Kentucky Cruises Past Alabama to Stay Undefeated

(1) Kentucky 70
Alabama 55

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) To hear Kentucky coach John Calipari tell it, being the nation's only unbeaten team in men's basketball simply means the target on the No. 1 Wildcats only gets bigger and the scrutiny is bound to increase.

The goal is staying undefeated in March and April, but the challenge doesn't seem to faze Kentucky after a season-best 59 percent shooting performance that put away Alabama.

Karl-Anthony Towns got off to a quick start and the Wildcats topped the Crimson Tide 70-55 Saturday night to complete a season sweep. Coupled with No. 2 Virginia's 69-63 loss to No. 4 Duke, Kentucky (21-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) will likely attract more attention in its quest for perfection.

Calipari's point was keeping things in perspective.

''We are playing every game to win,'' Calipari said. ''I told them last night, `We lose today, we are 20-1. ... You lose in March, your season is over.' Right now, you should just find out how good you can be.

''I had a team at UMass that started the season like this. I had a team at Memphis that started the season like this. Both of those teams took an `L' by the end of the year and were the best versions of themselves by the end of the year. I would rather for them to win them all but if they don't, they don't. Just as long as we are getting better.''

That Massachusetts team lost to Kentucky in the 1996 Final Four, and his Memphis squad fell to Kansas in overtime in the 2008 championship game.

Kentucky wasn't perfect against Alabama (13-8, 3-5) but was impressive in many areas while posting its third straight win by at least 15 points.

Two weeks after romping 70-48 in Tuscaloosa, the Wildcats made 24 of 41 from the field to surpass their previous best of 58 percent against Boston University on Nov. 21. They also controlled the paint 28-14 while their bench dominated the Tide 31-8.

Kentucky also committed just five turnovers while forcing Alabama (13-8, 3-5) into 13 mistakes that resulted in 20 points.

Towns scored all 12 of his points in the first half to put Kentucky ahead. Willie Cauley-Stein snapped out of a mini-slump with 12 points and four rebounds, Devin Booker added 11 points with three 3-pointers and Aaron Harrison had 10.

Complete Recap


• Kentucky is 21-0, 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama is 13-8, 3-5 in league play.
• Kentucky leads the series 105-37, including 55-10 at home.
• With 21 consecutive victories to begin the season, UK is off to the third-best start in program history.
• Kentucky is now the lone undefeated team in the nation following Virginia’s setback tonight to Duke.
• Kentucky is 198-27 all-time when ranked No. 1 and has won 43 of the last 45 games as The Associated Press top-ranked team.
• Calipari has led three schools to a No. 1 ranking (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky) and has an 87-9 record as the top-ranked coach, including 46-4 at UK.
• Calipari is now 173-37 (.824) as head coach at Kentucky, the best winning percentage of any coach in UK history.
• Kentucky was behind for only 20 seconds tonight. UK has trailed for only 103:43 of a possible 855 minutes this season.
• Kentucky returns to action Tuesday at home against Georgia. Game time is 7 p.m. EST and it will be televised on ESPNU.

Box Score (click to enlarge):

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