Brandon Miller had 19 points and seven rebounds, Alabama shut down Kentucky’s top scorers, and the No. 7 Crimson Tide demolished the Kentucky Wildcats 78-52 in Southeastern Conference action Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The leading freshman scorer in the country at 19.1 points per game, Miller was 7-for-15 from the field with two 3-pointers for Alabama (13-2, 3-0), which broke a two-game losing streak against the Wildcats (10-5, 1-2) and won for just the fourth time in the past 18 matchups against them.
Mark Sears produced 16 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists. Jahvon Quinerly had 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting as Alabama sank 26-of-54 shots (48.1 percent).
The Crimson Tide was 18-of-26 (69.2 percent) from the line while Kentucky was 5-for-8 (62.5).
The Wildcats’ Antonio Reeves had 20 points and Sahvir Wheeler added 15, but Oscar Tshiebwe (four points), Cason Wallace (two) and Jacob Toppin (three) — their top three scorers — went 3-for-30 as the club shot just 28.8 percent (21-of-73).
The Crimson Tide canned all three of its opening attempts, including a dunk by Noah Clowney, forcing Kentucky coach John Calipari to use a timeout just 2:08 in. Alabama made five of its first six shots and led 11-2 while the blue-clad visitors were errant on their first six tries.
Tshiebwe was subbed out at 16:01 with Kentucky down 11-2, and replacement Daimio Collins responded with a dunk. The squad then got the deficit down to 16-13 at the half’s midpoint and eventually to 20-19 with 4:57 left.
Alabama went on a 15-5 run to hold a 35-24 halftime lead. Clowney and Charles Bediako putting in eight points each in the half. The Crimson Tide got to the foul line 13 more times than the Wildcats and outscored them 13-2.
Wheeler and Reeves scored 10 points each to keep Kentucky within single digits most of the half. However, Tshiebwe, Wallace and Toppin were held scoreless and combined to miss 12 field goals.
Behind Miller and Sears, the Crimson Tide picked up where they left off in the second half, growing their margin to 47-27 after six minutes and leading by as many as 31.
Alabama used a 43-28 scoring advantage in the 20 minutes to move to 8-0 on its home court.
–Field Level Media