Cats bounce back, hand Boise first loss

Leon Rice brought the nation's highest-scoring team to Rupp Arena on Tuesday for a matchup with Kentucky, and the Boise State coach knew that Baylor had done him no favors only four days earlier.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Leon Rice brought the nation's highest-scoring team to Rupp Arena on Tuesday for a matchup with Kentucky, and the Boise State coach knew that Baylor had done him no favors only four days earlier.

The young Wildcats had been knocked from the ranks of the Top 10, blowing a nine-point, second-half lead to the Bears in a 67-62 loss at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

And that meant bad news for Rice's previously unbeaten Broncos.

"I thought they were really, really dialed in, and I knew they would be," Rice said after No. 11 Kentucky's 70-55 win. "… The loss to Baylor sometimes recalibrates, maybe opens up their minds to listen a little bit more. The more they trust (UK coach John Calipari), the better they are going to continue to get.

"They're coming."

Kentucky (8-2) shot 53 percent from the field while holding Boise State to 32 percent. The Wildcats held the Broncos to 36 points under their season scoring average of 91.3 points.

UK had a balanced scoring attack, led by James Young with 21 points. The freshman wing from Detroit also chipped in with nine rebounds for the Wildcats, who owned a commanding 43-27 rebounding advantage after losing the battle of the boards for the first time this season in the Baylor game.

Freshman forward Julius Randle recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein was an imposing presence in the paint with six points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots, tying his career high for rejections.

"Some of the things that they do, it's like me with my 10 year old son in the driveway," Rice said of the size mismatch that Boise State (8-1) faced. "We can do all of the right things and try to battle, but they are just so physically imposing."

Rice said he got some advice from a coaching colleague heading into the game that didn't exactly assist his cause.

"It was funny. I was talking to a coach who played them and he said you need to simulate playing against a 7-1 guy who can move and block shots, and I'm not sure I knew how to do that," said Rice, whose team went 8-for-35 (23 percent) from the field in the second half. "You just can't simulate their size in practice.

"They can make mistakes and then make up for them, and that's what they did a great job of tonight. With Cauley-Stein, you get to the rim and he blocks nine of them, and he alters probably 10 more of them. We have been able to get to the rim a little bit in the preseason, but not on him."

Cauley-Stein unveiled a new look for the game, dying his short, faded afro platinum blonde.

It reminded Calipari of another high-energy basketball star from the past.

"There's two things I said I'm not: I'm not the tattoo police, and I'm not the hair police," the UK boss said. "I don't care how you make your hair look. (But) I'll say this: looking like that, you better play, Willie.

"There was a guy that used to do that to his hair. He also wore wedding dresses. But he killed you. He would shut you out and get every rebound, play 40 minutes. Then I saw him on the treadmill after the game in our building. Who is on the treadmill in there? (I'm) coaching the Nets. It was (Dennis) Rodman. He played 40 minutes, had like 18 rebounds, and he went on the treadmill. You can paint your hair all you want; just be like him."

Kentucky also got 13 points apiece from freshman twin guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison.

"All the stuff we've been working on, we did better today," Calipari said. He noted that one of the only blemishes in this game was 19 turnovers by the usually sure-handed Cats.

Boise State was led by Anthony Drmic with 18 points. Derrick Marks added 14 for the Broncos, who have been consistently receiving votes for the AP Top 25 this season.

Jeff Drummond has covered University of Kentucky sports for newspapers, magazines and online publications since 1988 and for FOX Sports since 2012. A Richmond, Ky., native, he currently resides in Lexington.

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