LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky coach John Calipari found much to like about the box score of yet another blowout win, taking particular satisfaction in his team’s playing time.
Just four minutes separated nine of the top-ranked Wildcats’ 10 regulars. None played more than 21 minutes, with both platoons’ efficiency wearing down Texas-Arlington.
Especially freshman guard Devin Booker, who used his 17 minutes to score 19 points for his second career best in as many games. Karl-Anthony Towns added 13 with 11 rebounds in 17 minutes while other Wildcats made good use of their time in Tuesday night’s 92-44 blowout of the Mavericks.
“Every wants to talk about defense, they all want to talk about the energy the kids played with, blocked shots and the length,” Calipari said. “The story is you have 10 guys sharing minutes. That’s the whole story. In a nutshell.
“Why is that happening? Because they are allowing it to happen.”
The Wildcats (6-0) made things happen on both ends against the Mavericks.
Besides shooting 57 percent from the field (30 of 53), including 61 percent in the first half against Texas-Arlington’s zone defense, Kentucky held the Mavericks (3-2) to 27 percent shooting (17 of 63).
“We’re a man (defense) team and they picked us apart really good with that zone,” Mavericks coach Scott Cross said.
Second-platoon guard Booker helped break it, following up Sunday’s 18-point effort by hitting 7 of 8 shots including five 3-pointers.
“I’m shooting it all the same,” he said of his shot. “It’s just going in now.”
Towns added three blocks, four assists and a steal in 17 minutes for Kentucky, which led 55-12 at halftime and rarely let Texas-Arlington get within 40 points afterward in ending the Mavericks’ two-game winning streak.
“It’s more about entering the game and playing the whole time with energy,” Towns said. “Today, we played with a lot of energy in the first half. … If we continue to do that, then everything will fall into place.”
Dakari Johnson scored all 12 points on free throws, twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison each had 11 points and Trey Lyles 10 for the Wildcats.
Lonnie McClanahan’s 10 points off the bench led the Mavericks, whose only consolations were topping them in steals (8-6) and leading 3-2 on Kevin Hervey’s perimeter jumper.
After drubbing Montana State by 58 points on Sunday thanks to swarming defense, the Wildcats held Texas-Arlington to 4-of-32 shooting through 20 minutes and closed on a 42-5 run for a 55-12 lead at the break. Brandon Williams’ layup with 7:12 remaining made it 27-12 and marked the Mavericks’ last basket of the half.
Kentucky overcame a 1-for-7 start from the field to make 18 of its final 24 attempts of the half before going on to shoot 11 of 22 in the second half.
After missing two games with an illness, junior forward Alex Poythress returned to the starting lineup for the Wildcats and gave them their regular platoons. He had four points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes.
ONE NIGHT ONLY
Cross said he won’t review video of this game with his team, saying they won’t face another team like Kentucky. “Their size is absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “You can’t simulate it. We could have guys standing on chairs and not be able to simulate it. They have so much space and they close up gaps. It’s pretty impressive.”
Texas-Arlington: The Mavericks entered the game with their sixth 3-1 start in nine seasons under Cross. … UTA is 0-2 against Kentucky, losing both contests by an average of 38.5 points.
Kentucky: The Wildcats are winning by an average margin of 36.5 points per game. … Three quick turnovers led Calipari to pull the second platoon after a 1:42 shift in the first half. That unit had eight of the Wildcats’ nine giveaways through 20 minutes. Kentucky had 18 turnovers overall.
Texas-Arlington: Visits Montana State on Friday.
Kentucky: Hosts Providence on Sunday.
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