Kentucky routs Alabama to stay unbeaten

Tuscaloosa, AL ( - Devin Booker headed a strong Kentucky shooting effort with 13 points and the No. 1 Wildcats kept on rolling with a 70-48 pasting of Alabama at Coleman Coliseum.

Kentucky (17-0, SEC 4-0) dominated in all facets en route to its second straight blowout win after a pair of narrow overtime triumphs to begin SEC play.

The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the floor, knocked down 8-of-17 attempts from 3-point range and finished 16-of-18 from the foul line. They controlled the glass as well, outrebounding the Crimson Tide by a 30-21 margin, while forcing 15 turnovers to deal Alabama its first home loss of the season.

"I just hope we continue with the defense, because the offense will always catch up. It always does," Wildcats head coach John Calipari said. "We ground it out and we executed, did good."

Booker finished 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and Tyler Ulis hit 3-of-4 from long distance in an 11-point effort.

"It's like I'm shooting into the ocean now and it's really coming for me," said Booker, who has made good on a scorching 71.4 percent (20-of-28) of his 3-point tries over Kentucky's last seven games. "At the beginning of the year I started in a slump and kept telling everybody, 'shooters kept shooting', so that's what I did and it started falling."

Dakari Johnson also tallied 11 points for Kentucky, which remained one of the nation's two lone unbeatens along with Virginia.

Alabama (12-5, 2-2), which entered Saturday's matchup 10-0 in Tuscaloosa, received 13 points from Levi Randolph and 10 out of Rodney Cooper in its second straight conference setback.

Kentucky took control early, putting forth a 10-0 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison to jump out to a 12-4 lead. An 8-0 stretch, in which Booker and Ulis each buried treys, not long afterward had the Wildcats up by a 21-9 count nearing the midway mark of the first half.

"They came right out from the jump and did a great job," Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant said of Kentucky. "They are an elite team from a defensive standpoint with their size and length. They are really difficult to get good shots against."

The Wildcats, who held Alabama to a 7-of-22 effort from the field for the opening period, continued to stretch the lead prior to the close of the frame. Consecutive jumpers by Marcus Lee and Johnson had the Tide down 33-15 two minutes prior to the intermission, and Kentucky cruised into the break owning a comfortable 35-17 advantage.

Kentucky missed its first five shots of the second half, though, enabling Alabama to cut the deficit to 11 via a 7-0 spurt. The lead was whittled down to nine with 13:14 left when Ricky Tarrant followed Cooper's 3-pointer with a steal and layup to bring the Crimson Tide within 39-30.

The Wildcats then reasserted themselves by embarking on a 16-2 tear to put the game out of reach.

Ulis drained two more triples during the back-breaking run, which Booker capped with a 3-pointer of his own to extend the margin to 55-32 with nine minutes to play.

Game Notes

Kentucky is the first top-ranked team to enter Coleman Coliseum since the Tide downed No. 1 Arkansas 66-64 on Jan. 8, 1994 ... The Wildcats had lost in their two most recent visits to Tuscaloosa, but have now won nine of the last 11 overall in the series ... Alabama, which went just 3-of-7 from the free throw line, fell to 2-4 this season when its opponent attempts more foul shots.