Lexington, KY – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist posted career highs of ranked Kentucky to a 69-62 victory over No. 4 Louisville at Rupp Arena.
Anthony Davis contributed 18 points, all in the second half, to go along with 10 rebounds and six blocked shots for Kentucky (13-1), which has won five straight since its lone loss of the season at Indiana on December 10. The Wildcats also extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 44 games.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky's leading scorer at nearly 16 points per game, battled foul trouble and chipped in 10 points on just 1-of-7 from the field. He made 8-of-9 free throws as part of the Wildcats' 32-of-43 effort from the line.
Louisville was whistled early and often, leading to Kentucky's parade to the stripe. Peyton Siva, Kyle Kuric and Chane Behanan were all saddled with early foul problems and Gorgui Dieng was called for three early in the second half.
Russ Smith picked up the slack off the bench and poured in 30 points for the Cardinals (12-2), who were coming off their first loss of the season on Wednesday against Georgetown.
Louisville trailed 36-33 at the intermission and tied it at 40-40 when Smith converted a four-point play. The Cardinals then went cold for the next four minutes, missing eight shots with a turnover.
Kentucky couldn't create too much distance, scoring only seven points -- mostly at the line. Davis made four straight free throws for a 47-40 lead before Behanan answered with two from the stripe for Louisville with just over 11 minutes remaining.
A jumper by Smith kept Louisville within striking distance at 54-48, but a pair of dunks by Davis pushed Kentucky's lead to 10 with five minutes to play. The advantage reached 13 on two Davis free throws in the final minute and the Cardinals hit a pair of three-pointers to make it somewhat close.
Louisville shot a dismal 32.3 percent overall and connected on only 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. Siva and Chris Smith, the Cardinals' starting backcourt, combined to make just 4-of-23 shots.
Kentucky was even worse from the field, making only 29.8 percent overall with a 3-for-16 effort from three-point range, but its dominance inside proved to be the difference. The Wildcats claimed a 57-31 edge on the boards.
Louisville's only lead of the contest was 2-0. After Dieng's early bucket, Darius Miller countered with a three-pointer and the Wildcats never trailed again.
Kidd-Gilchrist's three gave Kentucky a 16-8 edge, and he later finished a 10-2 run with a layup to give the Wildcats a 31-16 cushion with just over five minutes to play in the half. The Cardinals answered with the next 13 to pull within two and trimmed the deficit to one at 34-33 before Kyle Wiltjer's bucket in the final minute sent Kentucky to the break with a three-point lead.
Davis notched his seventh double-double of the season...Kentucky committed 21 turnovers...Louisville finished 18-of-27 from the free throw line...Kentucky improved to 29-14 all-time against Louisville, including 16-5 in Lexington. This was the first meeting with both teams ranked among the top five in the nation...The Wildcats will take on Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday before opening SEC play next Saturday at home against South Carolina...Louisville will return to Big East play on Tuesday at St. John's.