Cats Too Big, Too Much for Hoosiers

Bloomington – Indiana is going to have to find a way to rebound from a 17-point loss to fourth-ranked Kentucky. Because Tom Crean's team couldn't do it Saturday. John Calipari's Wildcats looked bigger from the opening tip and they played bigger throughout...

Bloomington – Indiana is going to have to find a way to rebound from a 17-point loss to fourth-ranked Kentucky.

Because Tom Crean's team couldn't do it Saturday.

John Calipari's Wildcats looked bigger from the opening tip and they played bigger throughout, dominating Indiana 49-24 on the glass, 44-26 in the paint and eventually 90-73 on the scoreboard.

While Eric Bledsoe led the Wildcats with 23 points, it was the muscle from the likes of Patrick Patterson (19 points, 11 rebounds) and DeMarcus Cousins (14 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) that proved to be too much for Indiana to overcome. That duo dominated the glass and the paint and kept Indiana from doing much of anything around the basket.

"(Cousins) was an absolute beast," said UK Coach John Caliparim whose team improved to 10-0. "And Patrick Patterson was Patrick Patterson. He goes for a double-double with one turnover, and that's where he should be."

Derek Elston led the Hoosiers with six rebounds off the bench, but he admitted IU's inability to keep Kentucky from dominating on the glass was the biggest issue Saturday. Kentucky owned a 21-8 edge in offensive rebounds and that resulted in a 30-6 edge in second-chance points for the Wildcats.

"We were trying to do everything we wanted to. We held John Wall to only 11 points. But us big guys, we just had to rebound a lot better," Elston said. "Once we hit them, we had to root them out. And a lot of it was just trying to out-jump them, over-power them with our upper bodies, and it didn't work the whole game."

While Indiana's frontline couldn't keep Patterson, Cousins and Co. off the glass, IU Coach Tom Crean said all of the blame for that can't be heaped on the shoulder of Indiana's bigs. Instead, the goal was for IU's fronline to get a body on Kentucky's big men, freeing up the Hoosiers' guards to corral their share of rebounds. That didn't happen, as starters Maurice Creek, Verdell Jones and Jeremiah Rivers combined for only four rebounds.

"When you're not as big, not as old and not as physical, you have to have a gang mentality of rebounding – all five," Crean said.

Despite those issues, Indiana had its moments. Maurice Creek scored 10 of his game-high 31 points in the game's first five minutes to help the Hoosiers open a 17-9 lead. After Kentucky regained control by scoring on 13 of its 14 ensuing possessions to take a 38-30 lead, Indiana answered with an 11-4 run to cut the lead to one at halftime.

The Hoosiers then took their first and only lead of the second half on a Jeremiah Rivers' drive and layup to give IU a 48-47 lead with 17:42 remaining. But Kentucky responded by scoring on five straight possessions and seven of nine overall during an 18-0 five-minute run that produced a 17-point lead that Indiana would never seriously threaten.

"We missed some shots and they got some open looks and easy transition layups," said Jordan Hulls, who finished with two 3-pointers. "We didn't get back and play defense during that stretch."

Kentucky might have come away with a relatively easy win, but Calipari came away impressed with what he saw from Indiana and specifically Creek. The IU freshman might not have been as celebrated as Kentucky's Cousins, John Wall or Bledsoe, but he made 9-of-14 shots and 5-of-8 from 3-point range while being the only Hoosier to reach double figures.

"How about this Creek kid?" Calipari said. "We've played a lot of teams, and he's as good a player as we've played."

While Creek impressed Calipari and the rest of the 17,316 in attendance, Indiana couldn't get much offensive production from anyone else. Christian Watford was limited to seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes before fouling out. Jeremiah Rivers, Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls each chipped in with six, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep up with a Kentucky team that shot 53 percent from the floor (35-of-66) and dominated on the glass.

Indiana didn't have any answers for a Kentucky effort that Calipari admitted was one of his team's best during the season's first month and a half.

"We played well," Calipari said. "We're not better than that. That's like a February effort."

That ‘s not much consolation to an Indiana team that was clearly disappointed that it couldn't follow up its 10-point win earlier in the week against Pitt with a better performance against one of its arch-rivals.

"That's a hurting locker room. When you lose you don't want to see it be any different than that," Crean said. "A year ago we play at Kentucky, it was a stunned locker room (after UK's 72-54 win). This year we play Kentucky, it's a hurt locker room. That's progress to me as well."

Watford 3-8 0-0 7, Pritchard 2-2 0-1 4, Creek 9-14 8-8 31, Rivers 3-9 0-0 6, Jones 3-7 0-0 6, Barnett 0-0 0-0 0, Hulls 2-4 0-0 6, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Muniru 0-1 0-0 0, Capobianco 2-3 0-5 4, Gambles 0-0 0-0 0, Elston 2-8 0-0 4, Dumes 2-3 0-0 5, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-60 8-14 73.

Cousins 5-8 4-5 14, Patterson 9-17 1-4 19, Miller 2-7 2-2 7, Wall 4-11 2-4 11, Bledsoe 8-10 3-4 23, Dodson 4-8 1-1 10, Hood 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 2-3 0-1 4, Stevenson 0-0 0-0 0, Orton 1-2 0-0 2, Liggins 0-0 0-0 0, Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-66 13-21 90.

3-Pointers: Indiana 9-19 (Creek 5-8, Hulls 2-4, Dumes 1-2, Watford 1-3, Elston 0-1, Moore 0-1), Kentucky 7-14 (Bledsoe 4-5, Miller 1-2, Wall 1-2, Dodson 1-4, Harris 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 24 (Elston 6), Kentucky 49 (Patterson 11). Assists: Indiana 17 (Rivers 8), Kentucky 16 (Wall 8). Turnovers: Indiana 9, Kentucky 13. Blocks: Indiana 3 (Rivers, Elston, Dumes), Kentucky 7 (Cousins 3, Stevenson 2, Miller 1, Bledsoe 1). Steals: Indiana 6, Kentucky 6. Officials: Rick Hartzell, Karl Hess, Antonio Petty. Attendance: 17,316 Top Stories