Kentucky only has two more games to go before it can say it entered SEC play undefeated. The Wildcats aced their latest stiff test Saturday afternoon by running through No. 21 North Carolina, 84-70, at Rupp Arena. It wasn't as close as the score indicates.
Kentucky entered the game shooting only 27.7 percent from three-point range, but got dialed in early from deep. Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker each hit three-pointers to help Kentucky shoot 56.3 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats' ball movement was crisp the entire night, with Andrew Harrison (five assists) and Tyler Ulis (eight assists) pacing the offense.
Willie Cauley-Stein had another great all-around game for the Wildcats. The junior center finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four steals. He also did stuff like this:
Kentucky led by 15 at the half despite North Carolina shooting 54 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Wildcats, 14-11. Marcus Paige (14 points) led a Tar Heels charge in the second half, but Kentucky was simply too powerful to overcome.
This was Kentucky's first game without starting forward Alex Poythress, who tore his ACL in practice Thursday. Kentucky wore No. 22 t-shirts in Poythress' honor. While the junior forward was an emotional and defensive leader for the Wildcats, it's safe to say they didn't miss him much Saturday.
Kentucky faces UCLA Dec. 20 and Louisville Dec. 27 before SEC play starts.
Wichita State passes tough test from Detroit
Juwan Howard Jr. did everything he could to give the Detroit Titans a chance. The senior forward scored 27 points on 11-of-23 shooting to give the Titans a lead late in the second half against the No. 11 Shockers, but Wichita State would come back behind inspired efforts from Ron Baker and Darius Carter.
Carter was a mad man on the glass day, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds (five offensive). Baker struggled to score with efficiency, but still finished with 19 points -- on 6-of-18 shooting -- to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
The Shockers are now 7-1 after suffering their first regular-season loss in two years to Utah earlier this month.
Jake Layman, Melo Trimble lead Maryland past upset bid
South Carolina Upstate is no joke. The Spartans beat Georgia Tech last week and played Maryland tough Saturday, but the Terrapins earned a 67-57 win behind solid defense and dominant rebounding.
Freshman guard Melo Trimble continues to be a revelation for Maryland. The 6'2 guard finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and three assists to pace the Terrapins. Junior forward Jake Layman scored a team-high 17 and Evan Smotrycz added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench in the win.
Jake Layman used to turn lethargic when shots didn’t fall early. Not anymore. He’s got 17 points, 16 in the second half.— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) December 13, 2014
Maryland is now 10-1 on the season. Maryland faces Oklahoma State in their last tough non-conference game before Big Ten play starts.