Kentucky holds off Alabama
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Julius Randle scored 12 points and 25th- ranked Kentucky overcame a difficult shooting night to top Alabama 55-48 at Rupp Arena.
Randle was the lone Wildcat to reach double figures, with Dakari Johnson and James Young each netting nine as Kentucky (22-8, 12-5 SEC) broke out of a brief two-game losing skid despite shooting just 32.7 percent (16-of-49) from the floor. Young shot just 1-of-11, missing nine of his 10 3-point tries.
"We shot 32% for the game and won. I'm happy. We're still not all the way back. Guys were really tentative," UK head coach John Calipari said.
Trevor Releford had a game-high 13 points for Alabama (12-18, 6-11), which didn't make a field goal in the final 5:10 of the game.
"You look one through five and the size and physicality they put out there, and then top that off with great athleticism. It makes it difficult," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said.
Kentucky trailed by four early in the second half but knotted the score at 32- apiece after consecutive Randle buckets. Aaron Harrison followed with a 3- pointer to put the hosts in front.
Johnson had two dunks less than a half minute apart as the lead swelled to 43-34 at 12:47.
Alabama battled back and trailed by just a point with 5:11 to play after Levi Randolph's jumper, but a Releford free throw is all it managed down the stretch. Young's only triple of the contest came at 4:10 and Randle padded the cushion with two free throws a minute later.
Kentucky started the contest 2 for its first 13, and Alabama capitalized, jumping out to a 13-9 lead midway through the first half. Randle tied things at 25 just over a minute before intermission, but Shannon Hale's 3-ball gave the Tide a three-point halftime margin.
The 55 points was a season-low for Kentucky and the fewest points in a win since Nov. 29, 2008 ... Young is four 3-pointers shy of moving into second place in the Kentucky freshman record books ... The Wildcats won the rebounding margin, 41-27 ... Kentucky improved to 83-4 at Rupp Arena under John Calipari.