Kentucky routs Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Devin Booker scored 13 points and No. 1 Kentucky coasted to its second straight lopsided Southeastern Conference win with a 70-48 victory over Alabama on Saturday.
The Wildcats (17-0, 4-0) withstood an early second-half rally by the Crimson Tide (12-5, 2-2) before brushing off the potential challenge. The win gives Kentucky the program’s third-best start.
It wasn’t a laugher like Tuesday night’s 86-37 win over Missouri, but the bigger, deeper Wildcats easily overwhelmed an Alabama team that had won six of its last seven games.
Kentucky made 8 of 17 3-pointers, including three apiece by Tyler Ulis and Booker, who had 10 second-half points. Ulis and Dakari Johnson scored 11 points for Kentucky, while Willie Cauley-Stein had nine.
Levi Randolph led Alabama with 13 points and Rodney Cooper added 10.
Kentucky hit 50 percent of its shots (23 of 46) and missed only two of 18 free-throw attempts.
Kentucky continued the week’s romp through the SEC and used two big runs to take a 35-17 lead by halftime, easily the Tide’s lowest first-half total.
Alabama trimmed the lead in half with a 13-4 run coming out of the locker room, when the Wildcats missed their first five shots.
The rally was short-lived, and then it got worse for the Tide.
The Wildcats reclaimed control with 10 straight points en route to a 16-2 run that featured two 3-pointers by Ulis, one by Booker and a powerful dunk by Cauley-Stein.
The lead eventually ballooned to 28 points but the comfortable margin was set up with two stretches in the first half.
The Wildcats made four 3-pointers during a 19-5 spurt. Then they fashioned a 12-1 spurt on strong inside play and free throws.
The Tide made only one field goal over the last 9:30, while Johnson and Karl-Anthony Towns went to work for Kentucky.
Calipari called a quick, attention-getting timeout after a slow start in the second half. ‘Bama scored the first seven points to make it 35-24, and Kentucky missed its initial five shots before Towns dunked.
Kentucky: Outrebounded Alabama 30-21 and forced 15 turnovers. No player attempted more than seven shots, with Johnson and Booker both making 4 of 7. Booker has now made 20 of 28 3-pointers over the last seven games.
Alabama: Now 2-2 at home against top-ranked teams. A No. 1 team hadn’t visited Coleman Coliseum since 1994, when Alabama beat Arkansas. It was the Tide’s first sellout since hosting Kentucky in January 2013.
Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt Tuesday night.
Alabama visits No. 19 Arkansas Thursday night.