Kentucky is now 10-1 overall and has won six in a row. South Carolina is 8-4 overall and has lost one in a row. This was the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Kentucky has won 13-consecutive home games.
Kentucky now leads the series 35-5 and the Wildcats have won 18 of the last 19 meetings.
The Wildcats lead 18-1 all-time in games played in Lexington.
Tubby Smith, a former assistant coach at South Carolina, is now 21-3 against the Gamecocks as a head coach, including 18-1 at Kentucky.
Kentucky is now 56-16 all-time in league openers and has won 17 of the last 18 league lid-lifters.
UK team game notes
The Wildcats made their first seven shots and did not miss until the 14:40 mark of the first half.
After making only four of their first 12 foul shots, the Wildcats made 10 in a row during the second half.
Trailing 53-50, the Wildcats scored on seven consecutive possessions to take a 66-57 lead. The Gamecocks got no closer than five points after that.
South Carolina shot 53.6 percent from the field tonight, breaking Kentucky's streak of holding the opponent under 50 percent shooting in 42-straight games.
Kentucky won points off turnovers 21-5. South Carolina had 17 turnovers while the Wildcats had just nine miscues.
South Carolina's bench outscored Kentucky's reserves, 25-12, marking the first time this season that UK's bench has been outscored.
Kentucky returns to action Sunday, Jan. 9, when the Wildcats play host to Kansas at 4:30 p.m. The game will be a national telecast on CBS.
UK individual game notes
All five starters scored in double figures for the Wildcats. The last time UK had five players tally in double digits was March 19, 2004, vs. Florida A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Chuck Hayes got 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season and 18th of his career. Hayes has claimed at least six rebounds, one assist, and one steal in every game this season.
Rajon Rondo played one of his best games with 11 points, a season-high five rebounds, a season-high five assists, and three steals while playing a season-high 32 minutes. He has had at least one steal in every game this season.
Patrick Sparks tied his season high with seven assists. It was the third-consecutive game, and fourth time this season, that he had seven assists. He has had at least three assists in every game this season.
Kelenna Azubuike downed four three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. Four three-pointers tied his career best.