Cats open strong, hold off Sooners 76-64

The Cats held off a couple of Oklahoma rallies to capture a 76-64 win. Jones finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to lead the way for Kentucky.

The Oklahoma Sooners ran into a Big Blue freshman buzzsaw in the first five minutes of the Maui Classic game, before cooling down and holding off a tough Oklahoma team. UK freshmen Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb combined for 17 of the first 21 Wildcat points as Kentucky opened up an early 21-8 lead in the first five minutes of the contest. The Cats held off a couple of Oklahoma rallies to capture a 76-64 win. Jones finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to lead the way for Kentucky.

A game Oklahoma team did its best to rally pulling within six points during the first half and again in the second half. The Cats inevitably had an answer for each run, though Kentucky looked sloppy at times.

Kentucky looked like they would pull away for good after Jones hit center Josh Harrelson for a layup giving the Cats a 68-55 advantage with just 4:35 remaining. But Carl Blair and senior Cade Davis helped pull the Sooners back into the game one last time. Davis his a three-pointer at the 2:14 mark to draw Oklahoma to within six at 68-62. Knight, Jones, Lamb and Jon Hood connected on six free throws down the stretch to preserve the win for Kentucky.

The Wildcats shot 50% from the field and outrebounded their opponents 40-33. They committed just eleven turnovers. After a hot first half, Kentucky cooled down. The Cats shot 56% from the field and 46% from three-point range in the first half compared to just 42% from the field and 14% from three point range in the second half.

Kentucky will face the winners of Virginia and Washington on Tuesday at 9:30 PM EST.


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