Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Kentucky and Providence were both undefeated coming into Sunday's meeting at Rupp Arena, and it was virtually even for 20 minutes before the top-ranked Wildcats pulled away.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each recorded 11 points and six rebounds, and Kentucky held the Friars to 16 points after the break en route to a 58-38 win.
The Wildcats (7-0) saw five other players finish with six points, including Andrew Harrison, who added four assists and four steals.
"We needed to face a team like (Providence)," Cauley-Stein said. "The game could have gone either way, but we found a way to win."
Tyler Harris and Carson Desrosiers each netted 10 points for the Friars (6-1), who made just 4-of-24 (16.7 percent) in the deciding second half.
Kris Dunn shot 1-of-7 from the floor and committed 10 of Providence's 18 turnovers.
"We just didn't have good ball movement, so that's on me," Providence head coach Ed Cooley said. "I'm excited to move my team forward."
While the final numbers were unsightly, the Friars opened the contest by making seven of their first 10 shots.
They led 19-15 following two Harris free throws with 6:49 remaining in the first half, but baskets were much tougher to come by the rest of the way.
Kentucky went into halftime holding a 26-22 lead and never trailed after the break.
For a 14-plus minute stretch that went into the second half, the Friars connected on just 1-of-16 shots, and a Towns three-point play gave Kentucky a 33-25 lead with 14:04 to go.
A quick 9-0 run capped by an Alex Poythress layup in transition extended the Wildcats' cushion to 44-29, and the hosts cruised from there.
Providence fell to 2-12 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams ... Kentucky beat its first six opponents by an average of 36.8 points ... Providence came in averaging 74.2 ppg ... Kentucky outscored the Friars in the paint, 38-12.