Cats defeat #4 Cards, 73-61

The Kentucky Wildcats broke a recent trend in the UK-UL series by jumping out to a big lead, then hanging on in the second half for the victory. During each of the least two seasons early double-digit leads have been erased by the visiting squads, who went on to victory.

The Kentucky Wildcats bounced back from last weekend's loss to Indiana with a 73-61 win over the Louisville Cardinals in front of the second largest crowd in Rupp Arena history. In winning the Wildcats did something that hadn't been done each of the previous two seasons; hang on to a large lead in second half for the win. Kentucky took a 2-0 lead to begin the game, and never relinquished the lead.

Kentucky got out of the gate fast, taking an early 13-3 lead. Louisville answered with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to four. After trading baskets Kentucky responded with a run of its own. Sheray Thomas scored on a putback, then hit a three to give the Cats a 30-17 lead. When the smoke cleared at the half Kentucky led 39-24.

The second half saw Kentucky stretch its lead to 53-30 in the first six minutes, this would be the largest lead of the game.

Louisville made a run on the strength of its starting frontcourt, Juan Palacios and David Padgett. The duo combined to score 22 of Louisville's final 29 points. The discovery proved to be too little, too late as Kentucky was able to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the remainder of the game.

Kentucky shot 47% from the field, while holding the Cardinals to 35%, and won the battle of the boards, 36-35. The Kentucky defense held Louisville without a fastbreak basket.

Two Kentucky players scored in double-digits for the Cats. Rajon Rondo scored 25 and Thomas finished with 11, both were career highs. Lukasz Obrzut also set a career high, tallying 9 rebounds.

Louisville was led in scoring by Palacios, with 15. Senior guard Taquan Dean added 14.

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