9:00 PM ET, December 10, 2013
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- James Young was among many Kentucky players painfully aware they had to do better after letting one get away against Baylor last week.
The freshman guard's improved shooting against Boise State on Tuesday night played a big role in helping the 11th-ranked Wildcats snap back from that frustrating loss.
Young scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half, and Kentucky used solid defense to hand Boise State its first loss 70-55.
"I got some extra shots before practice," said Young, whose 7-of-15 shooting included all four of Kentucky's 3-pointers. "I got here before a couple of guys and got more shots up, and I think that's what really helped."
The Wildcats (8-2) ended up making 27 of 51 shots from the field (53 percent) and outscored the Broncos 44-24 in the paint, a statistic also indicative of their defensive improvement.
There certainly was room for it after Kentucky was outrebounded by 16 in losing 67-62 to No. 14 Baylor on Friday in Arlington, Texas.
The Wildcats bounced back by dominating the Broncos (8-1) 43-27 on the glass.
Kentucky held the nation's No. 2 offense 37 points below its average, limiting Boise State to 8-of-35 shooting in the second half and 22-of-69 (32 percent) overall.
"We had pressure on the ball," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We picked up. We're trying to figure things out as a team, how we have to play. I wish we had played that way (before), with that kind of pressure on the ball."
Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein matched his career high with nine blocks while adding seven rebounds and six points in 25 minutes.
Add in more switching than usual by the longer, taller Wildcats, and the result was an effort that helped deny Boise State its first 9-0 start.
"I knew coming in here we would have to play an A-plus game, a perfect game," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "We have to play the right way against them, and we slid away from that a little bit. ... We have to beat them with our ball movement and player movement. We got away from that just enough that we couldn't score."
Miffed at being beaten on the glass for the first time this season and wilting in the final 13 minutes against Baylor, the Wildcats got back on track by displaying more aggression and energy, just what they needed with another test looming Saturday at No. 18 North Carolina.
Cauley-Stein was up to the challenge from the start, blocking five shots in the first half while debuting a new blond hairdo. Calipari joked that with hair reminiscent of Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, he had to come out and play with similar aggression.
The sophomore did that but said his motivation to dye his hair had more to do with boredom than anything.
"You got to ball, and that's what he said today," Cauley-Stein joked.
Kentucky played hard throughout but began to take control late in the first half of an up-tempo game. That was necessary considering all of the offensive threats the Broncos of the Mountain West Conference posed.
Boise State returned its entire starting lineup from last season's NCAA tournament squad and entered with four of those players averaging in double figures. The Broncos led 14-13 and stayed within reach of Kentucky before the Wildcats answered with improved intensity that helped them control the boards and the inside.
Young's 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc en route to 17 points in the first half provided a necessary boost offensively as Kentucky made 17 of 31 from the field (55 percent) in leading 41-31 at halftime.
Kentucky eventually widened it to 19 points with 8 1/2 minutes remaining as Boise State missed 19 of 23 shots, some of which were altered by Cauley-Stein and Randle.
LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 10: Aaron Harrison #2 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball during the game against...(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-69 (.319)||27-51 (.529)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-17 (.294)||4-17 (.235)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-6 (1.000)||12-18 (.667)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|
|» Dec 10, 2013||@UK 70, BSU 55||Recap|
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