Kentucky bullies Hoosiers
Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 4:54 pm
By: By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — DeAndre Liggins scored a career-high 19 points, Brandon Knight added 18 points and six rebounds and No. 17 Kentucky bulled its way past Indiana, 81-62, on Saturday.
Josh Harrellson added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (7-2), who continued their dominance in the once-heated rivalry by shutting down the Hoosiers in the second half.
Indiana (7-2) managed just one field goal in the final nine minutes
Christian Watford led Indiana with 19 points and nine rebounds but the Hoosiers fell to their border rivals for the 14th time in the last 17 meetings.
Indiana made the Wildcats work for it in a rugged game that featured 47 fouls, a number of which sent bodies tumbling to the ground.
The Hoosiers game plan was simple: try to outmuscle the quicker, more inexperienced Wildcats. It worked for awhile. Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones couldn’t stay out of foul trouble and neither could Knight.
Both players sat for long stretches in the first half, and Jones never got on track. He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds on 3-of-11 shooting and was hardly the dominant force he was in a win over No. 23 Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Yet Kentucky survived, however, behind the spirited play of Harrellson and Liggins. The holdovers from the Billy Gillispie era have developed into solid role players under John Calipari, and both made the “winning plays” the coach covets.
Indiana looked to have a chance to win in Lexington for the first time since 1989 when Watford drilled a 3-pointer to give the Hoosiers a 57-56 lead with 9:42 to go.
Liggins put Kentucky back in front with a 3-pointer two possessions later then, after two free throws by Knight, converted a difficult lay-up in traffic while drawing the foul. He hit the extra shot to put Kentucky up 64-57 and the Wildcats slowly began pulling away as the Hoosiers unraveled.
Jones hit two free throws, Harrellson put back a miss and by the time Knight drilled a 3-pointer from the corner the Wildcats led 71-60 with 2:52 remaining.
It was more than enough to hold off Indiana. The Hoosiers’ only basket over the final minutes came on a layup by Jeremiah Rivers with 38 seconds remaining.
Kentucky’s win was its third straight in the series. All of the wins have come by at least 17 points.
Calipari joked on Friday Kentucky should consider canceling the series considering the way Indiana coach Tom Crean is breathing life back into the Hoosiers following the NCAA-sanction riddled tenure of predecessor Kelvin Sampson.
The Hoosiers are certainly on the right track, but can’t quite match Kentucky’s talent level, at least not yet.
The Wildcats shot just 36 percent from the floor but overcame it by dominating the paint and making free throws. Kentucky outrebounded Indiana 45-33 and made 31 of 44 at the foul line.
The Wildcats led just 32-31 at the half as the Hoosiers stuck around when Jones and Knight spent the last 6:40 of the period on the bench with two fouls apiece.
Harrellson and Darius Miller attempted to pick up the offensive slack, but Kentucky looked lost at times on the defensive end of the floor. The Hoosiers finished the half on a 10-4 burst fueled by four baskets right at the rim, the last a nifty layup by Will Sheehey just before the buzzer that pulled Indiana within a point at the break.