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Late-game surge propels Kentucky by APSU

 

LEXINGTON, KY – No. 3 Kentucky used a 12-0 second-half run to pull away from Austin Peay State University, 90-69, Saturday afternoon, at Rupp Arena.

The victory elevated the Wildcats to 11-0 on the season and it gave them 1,999 all-time victories. Austin Peay, meanwhile, saw its five-game winning streak snapped as it fell to 7-5 on the season.

The Govs, trailing 49-35 at halftime, opened the second half on an 8-0 run to cut UK’s lead to six points, 49-43, at the 17:38 mark. A jumper by Patrick Patterson and a pair of free-throws by John Wall stretched the UK lead back to double-digits where it stayed for much of the of the next six minutes before Caleb Brown knocked down a step-back three pointer with 8:25 left to make it a 70-61 contest.

Wes Channels (Lois Jones/Austin Peay)

The Governors then got the ball back on a missed DeMarcus Cousins dunk, but failed to convert,before the Wildcats reeled off the next 12 points-nine by Patrick Patterson, starting at the 7:04 mark. When Duran Roberson nailed a three pointer with 3:38 to stop the streak the contest was out of reach at 82-64.

In facing the nation’s No. 3 team, Austin Peay knew it had to keep the game close and shoot the ball well. The Govs trailed by two points, 22-20, mid-way through the first half, but the Wildcats scorched an 18-6 run to make it 40-26 at the 5:13 mark.

Kentucky took a 49-35 lead into the break, in part due to a 21-11 rebounding advantage. The Wildcats shot 51.4 percent (18 of 35) from the floor, while the Govs made 13 of 29 (44.8 percent). The Wildcats also made 6 of 9 three-pointers in the frame.

Sophomore center John Fraley helped keep the Govs in it in the first half, scoring 11 of his 13 points, while senior guard Wesley Channels added eight. Channels scored a game-high 21 points, including five three pointer and led the Govs with five rebounds. Junior forward Duran Roberson added a career-high 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Fraley was 5-of-6 from the floor while blocking three shots.

Four Wildcats scored in double-figures, led by Patterson’s 21 points while heralded freshman guard John Wall added 17 points and six assists. Kentucky outrebounded the Govs 44-24 and shot a perfect 18-of-18 from the free-throw line.

The win pushed Kentucky coach John Calipari past Adolph Rupp in the school record book for the best start by a first-year head coach. Rupp won his first 10 games in 1931. Kentucky will go for its 2,000th win on Monday against Drexel.

The Governors, meanwhile, will return to action, 7 p.m., Tuesday at home against Evansville, their final home contest of 2009.


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