Recap: No. 1 Kentucky 69, Missouri 53

Kentucky became only the third team in program history to begin a season 20-0 with Thursday’s 69-53 win at Missouri.

The No. 1 Wildcats (20-0, 7-0 SEC) weren’t as dominant as they were in their first encounter with the Tigers – a 49-point win at Rupp Arena on Jan. 13 – but still had more than enough to match the 1965-66 team and the 1953-54 squad with perfect records through as many games.

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Sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison led UK with 15 points, while twin brother Aaron Harrison chipped in with 11. The former scored eight of his points during the Cats’ 10-2 run that turned a six-point lead into a 14-point cushion with 11:25 left in the game.

“He really played well,” UK coach John Calipari said. “He drew fouls. He made baskets. He got us involved in offense. He played with confidence. There was no doubt he was making free throws, which is why I left him in and said ‘Just go ahead and keep doing your thing.’”

Kentucky stretched the lead to as much as 20 at one point in the second half after holding the Tigers without a field goal for 7:01. Missouri finished at 42 percent from the field, 15 points higher than the mark it had in the first matchup, but it wasn't enough to challenge the deeper Cats.

Wes Clark led the Tigers (7-13, 1-6 SEC) with a game-high 19 points. Jonathan Williams added 10 for Missouri, but hit only three of his nine shots from the field. He went 1-for-13 in the first meeting with the Cats.

In this AllWildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some of the game's highs and lows:

WHAT WE LIKED: Andrew Harrison took control of the game when Missouri was starting to entertain legitimate upset thoughts early in the second half. His aggressiveness in attacking the basket was refreshing, especially considering the recent offensive slump he’s been fighting. Harrison got to the line 11 times, knocking down nine.

KEY MOMENT: Aside from the aforementioned, Harrison-led run, the Cats closed the first half with a 12-4 spurt that gave them a 34-25 lead going into the locker room. Six different UK players scored during that run, which was representative of a balanced, albeit sloppy, performance on the night.

STAT OF THE DAY: Fifty-four fouls between the two teams leading to 57 free throws in a dreadfully-paced college basketball game.

1 – Blocked shot for UK, which entered the night averaging a national-best 8.2 per game.
2 – Only points scored by national player of the year candidate Willie Cauley-Stein on what UK coach John Calipari dubbed an “invisible” night for his junior big man.
6 – Steals between the Harrison Twins, three apiece.
9 – Points for UK freshman guard Devin Booker against his father’s alma mater. Former Tiger All-American Melvin Booker wore a shirt featuring both Kentucky and Missouri logos and a “House Divided” slogan.
1966 – The last time an SEC team was 20-0. Those Wildcats reached 23-0 before their first loss.

QUOTABLE: "I guess that’s the M.O. – be really physical, body to body, and we’re going to have to figure it out because we’re so young.” – Calipari on opponents attempting to make the game rough and tumble against the Cats.

UP NEXT: Kentucky returns to action on Saturday at Rupp Arena against Alabama (13-7, 3-4 SEC). The Cats won the first matchup against the Crimson Tide 70-48 on Jan. 17 in Tuscaloosa. Anthony Grant’s team is coming off a 52-50 loss to Florida.

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