Recap: Kentucky vs. Eastern Mich
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Willie Cauley-Stein turned in a dominant performance with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots in the third-ranked Kentucky Wildcats' 81-63 rout of Eastern Michigan in the finale of the Keightley Classic from Rupp Arena.
Aaron Harrison scored a 22 points for Kentucky (6-1), which has won four in a row following a Nov. 12 loss to current No. 1 Michigan State. Julius Randle overcame a scoreless first half and added his sixth double-double in as many games with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"I thought Julius in the second half ran the floor and did what he had to," said Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
The win marked Kentucky's 500th at Rupp Arena.
Darell Combs dropped a game-high 23 off the bench for the Eagles (5-1), who did not have a starter reach double figures. Ray Lee followed up his 38-point outburst against Texas-Arlington with just two points on 1-of-9 from the field.
EMU set out to prove it was a formidable foe from the opening tip, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and prompting a Kentucky timeout less than a minute into the contest.
"I thought tonight we got off to a pretty good start offensively," said EMU head coach Rob Murphy, "and as the first half continued to develop a few of our got in foul trouble early so it was tough on us."
The Wildcats responded and led by a slim margin for most of the first half. Jalen Ross' floater late in the opening period pulled EMU to within 1, but Cauley-Stein's alley-oop from James Young as time expired brought the crowd to its feet and gave Kentucky momentum heading into the locker room.
Kentucky struggled in the first half in large part due to 11 turnovers to just four assists.
A pair of Cauley-Stein alley-oops set the tone in the first five minutes of the second half.
Aaron Harrison's triple extended the Wildcats' lead to 47-38 at the 13:34 mark of the second. Cauley-Stein then split a pair of free throws a minute later and found Randle underneath for a three-point play after Alex Poythress kept the possession alive with an offensive rebound on the missed second shot.
Combs responded with five straight points to cut the Eagles' deficit to single digits, but Cauley-Stein's seventh block, which matched a career-high, led to a Randle three-point play in transition and a commanding 64-48 Kentucky lead with just under eight minutes to go.Game Notes
Kentucky improved to 47-6 all-time against members of the MAC ... The Wildcats
won the rebounding margin, 52-34 ... EMU committed 31 fouls to Kentucky's 17
... Kentucky is back at it on Sunday against Providence at Barclays Center.