Kentucky Soars Over Grand Canyon to Open Season

Nov. 14, 2014

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Andrew Harrison scored 16 points and No. 1 Kentucky dominated Grand Canyon in every phase during an 85-45, season-opening blowout on Friday night.

Beginning their second straight season atop the rankings thanks to a 10-deep roster that coach John Calipari utilized through a two-platoon system, the Wildcats exploited their substantial height and talent advantages through both units against a young Antelopes squad featuring seven true or redshirt freshmen among nine newcomers.

Despite missing a bunch of easy chances, Kentucky still shot 49 percent. The Wildcats held the Antelopes to 15-for-48 shooting (31 percent), outrebounded them 51-21 and blocked 10 shots.

Willie Cauley-Stein added 12 points, Dakari Johnson had 13 rebounds and 10 points and Trey Lyles had 14 points for Kentucky, which stretched its lead to 40 in the final minute.

Royce Woolridge, son of late former NBA player Orlando Woolridge, scored 15 points for Grand Canyon.

Kentucky also dominated scoring in the paint 58-16 as the Antelopes rarely found anything inside, an effort that warmed a Rupp Arena crowd of 22,533 on an unseasonably cold night.

Though the first test of Kentucky's two-platoon system awaits Tuesday night in Indianapolis against No. 5 Kansas, its official debut was encouraging for both units for the most part.

Andrew Harrison and twin brother Aaron, forwards Karl-Anthony Towns (6-foot-11) and Alex Poythress and 7-footer Cauley-Stein comprised Kentucky's first imposing wave, and Andrew Harrison got the Wildcats started by scoring the game's first seven points.

They exited 4 1/2 minutes later with a 14-6 lead that the next platoon of 7-footer Johnson, guards Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis and forwards Lyles and Marcus Lee initially struggled to expand behind missed shots. But those Wildcats eventually chipped in 13 first-half points and contributed to a stifling defensive effort that held Grand Canyon to 6-of-24 shooting (25 percent) and built a 43-16 lead at the break that widened in the second half.

Kentucky's first-half defensive effort included seven blocks. Grand Canyon, coached by former NBA star Dan Majerle, couldn't keep up. Daniel Alexander added 10 points for the Antelopes.