Cats Use Balanced Attack to Outlast Alabama

Jan. 21, 2012

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Darius Miller hit four free throws in the final minute and freshmen Marquis Teague and Anthony Davis each added two more as No. 2 Kentucky held on to beat Alabama 77-71 on Saturday for its nation's best 47th straight home victory.

Kentucky (19-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) led the entire second half, but Alabama's Trevor Releford scored all 17 of his points in the second half to keep the Crimson Tide (13-6, 2-3) close until the end.

Terrence Jones, who finished with 15 points, made Kentucky's final field goal with 6:57 left, but the Wildcats hit 23 of 29 second-half free throw attempts - including all eight in the final minute - in a game that featured 45 fouls.

Doron Lamb had 14 points and freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 13 for the Wildcats, who scored their final 15 points from the free-throw line.

JaMychal Green had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Trevor Lacey added 10 points for Alabama, which lost its third in a row.

With 1:06 left, Kidd-Gilchrist fouled out trying to stop Andrew Steele, who hit two free throws that cut Kentucky's lead to 69-67.

The teams traded free throws with Miller making two foul shots and Green added two more with 37 seconds to play. Teague hit his two and Steele answered with two more when Lamb fouled Steele on the inbounds pass with 24 seconds to go that cut it to 73-71.

But Miller hit two more free throws with 14 seconds to play and Davis blocked his fourth shot of the game and grabbed the rebound when Charles Hankerson drove into the lane.

Davis was fouled with 4.5 seconds left and hit both his free throws for the final margin.

Davis, who finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, set the school's single-season block record in Kentucky's previous win against Arkansas and added to his nation's leading block total. He now has 93 on the season.

Teague added 10 points for the Wildcats.

Releford rallied the Crimson Tide and Alabama trailed 49-48 with 12:37 left, but never took the lead despite Releford's scooping layup just beyond Davis' attempted block off the glass and then his floater that rattled around the rim and fell that cut Kentucky's lead to 55-52.

Jones' jumper made it 62-57 with 6:57 left, but Kentucky wouldn't score again from the field. The Wildcats fouled out Alabama's leading scorer and rebounder Tony Mitchell with 5:32 left.

Mitchell scored six points on 2-of-9 shooting for his second straight subpar performance after failing to score in 31 minutes in a loss to Vanderbilt.

Kentucky lost to Alabama last year on the road, but avenged it with a victory in the SEC tournament and got off to a fast start against the Crimson Tide in this one, too.

After Alabama took an early 5-1 lead, Kidd-Gilchrist sparked Kentucky on a 15-3 run. He stole a pass and scored in transition, then forced a shot clock violation on the next possession.

After he made two free throws, he stole the inbounds pass, dove to floor to retain possession before getting it to Miller who swung it to Lamb in the left corner for a 3-pointer.

Davis missed his first seven shots before he followed up a miss by Teague with a dunk that gave Kentucky a five-point lead. The Wildcats maintained that advantage, taking a 37-32 lead into the break that they managed to hold onto throughout the foul-filled second half.

Highlights