• 59°

Wall hits winning shot as UK edges Miami

LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Wall proved to be worth the wait.

The heralded Kentucky freshman scored 19 points — including the game-winning jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining — to lift the fourth-ranked Wildcats to a 72-70 win over Miami of Ohio on Monday night.

After Miami’s Kenny Hayes hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 70 with six seconds left, Wall raced down the floor and pulled up from the wing. The ball fell through the net and Wall raced up the floor pounding his chest in celebration as the crowd roared.

Patrick Patterson had 17 points and 10 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins had 10 points and 10 boards for the Wildcats (2-0).

Nick Winbush led Miami with 26 points and the RedHawks nearly pulled off the upset thanks to making 15 of 26 3-pointers.

Wall, considered the top high school player in the country when he signed with the Wildcats last spring, was forced to sit out Kentucky’s season-opening win over Morehead State last week as part of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits from his AAU coach.

His arrival didn’t come a moment too soon for the Wildcats, who struggled to rein in Miami’s red-hot shooters.

The RedHawks (0-2) led by as much as 18 in the first half and responded late after the Wildcats finally appeared to take control.

A Cousins lay-up gave Kentucky a 69-67 lead with 1:29 left. The teams traded turnovers before Hayes tried to make a difficult layup in the lane with 32 seconds left. Wall went to the line and made one of two free throws to put the Wildcats up 70-67 with 19 seconds left.

Hayes tied it when Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe left him alone at the top of the key.

Rather than call timeout, the Wildcats quickly inbounded the ball to Wall. He dribbled up the left side and pulled up from about 17 feet.

Wall wasn’t perfect — he turned it over five times — but he looked at ease with the ball in his hands and hardly bothered with the hype surrounding his arrival.

Having a little help from Patterson and Cousins helped. After struggling to find any rhythm in the first half, Kentucky got back in the game by going inside. The Wildcats held a 37-25 rebounding edge and outscored the RedHawks 32-12 in the paint.

Kentucky box

No. 4 KENTUCKY 72, MIAMI (OHIO) 70

MIAMI (OHIO) (0-2)

Winbush 9-13 0-0 26, Fletcher 2-3 0-0 4, Haddix II 1-3 2-2 5, Soderberg 1-5 2-2 4, Hayes 5-13 2-3 16, Roberts 0-3 0-0 0, Mavunga 1-1 1-2 3, Williams 1-1 0-0 3, Ballard 3-6 2-3 9. Totals 23-48 9-12 70.

KENTUCKY (2-0)

Cousins 5-15 0-1 10, Patterson 6-8 4-7 17, Miller 4-6 0-0 9, Wall 4-9 10-14 19, Bledsoe 1-5 0-1 2, Dodson 3-4 0-0 9, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Stevenson 0-0 0-0 0, Orton 3-5 0-1 6, Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-53 14-24 72.

Halftime—Miami (Ohio) 39-36. 3-Point Goals—Miami (Ohio) 15-26 (Winbush 8-10, Hayes 4-6, Williams 1-1, Ballard 1-1, Haddix II 1-3, Roberts 0-2, Soderberg 0-3), Kentucky 6-11 (Dodson 3-4, Patterson 1-2, Wall 1-2, Miller 1-2, Harris 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Miami (Ohio) 25 (Mavunga, Winbush 6), Kentucky 37 (Cousins, Patterson 10). Assists—Miami (Ohio) 13 (Hayes 5), Kentucky 11 (Wall 5). Total Fouls—Miami (Ohio) 22, Kentucky 14. A—23,337.