Wall's Double-Double Powers Cats Past Broncs 92-63

Nov. 21, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Freshman John Wall had 21 points and 11 assists as No. 4 Kentucky dominated Rider 92-63 on Saturday in the Cancun Challenge.

Patrick Patterson added 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for the Wildcats (4-0). The team hardly looked like the one coach John Calipari called the "worst" defensive team he's seen in 20 years after wins over Miami (Ohio) and Sam Houston State earlier in the week.

Kentucky held Rider (2-2) to 31 percent shooting, blocked 10 shots and forced the Broncs into 20 turnovers.

Ryan Thompson led Rider with 16 points, but the Broncs couldn't find the shooting stroke that helped them win at Mississippi State last week. Rider made just 4-of-17 3-pointers and was never really in it after Wall took over midway through the first half.

Yet Calipari was never worried about his team's ability to score. It was a decided lack of intensity on the other end of the floor that he said would give him nightmares.

The Wildcats allowed 33 3-pointers in narrow escapes over the RedHawks and Bearkats, wins that Calipari said showcased just how far his team has to go.

Kentucky appeared to take important strides against the Broncs, who came in knocking down 48 percent of its 3-pointers.

Kentucky extended its perimeter defense to prevent the kind of open looks that the RedHawks and Bearkats so easily turned into points. Everyone got involved in stopping the 3. At one point 6-foot-11 center DeMarcus Cousins picked up a foul behind the 3-point line for challenging a shot.

The foul sent Calipari into a frenzy and Cousins to the bench, Calipari's message about getting on defense had apparently been delivered. Rider missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the half - or 12 fewer 3s than Sam Houston State made in the opening half on Thursday.

Rider didn't make a 3-pointer until Brandon Penn knocked one down from the corner in the first minute of the second half, and by then the Broncs were trailing by 28. Even that wasn't easy, as Penn fell to the floor after Kentucky center Daniel Orton came flying at him.

All the misses led to long rebounds, which allowed Wall to get out on the fast break and show the speed that has some NBA scouts predicting he'll be the top pick in next year's draft.

During one stretch in the first half he completed a flawless 360-degree spin in the lane for a layup and followed it up moments later with a steal, a basket and the foul.

The prettiest move, however, was a coast-to-coast sprint off a Rider miss in which Wall dribbled the ball between his legs at full speed while switching from his left hand to his right hand. He made the layup while absorbing the contact then knocked down the free-throw to put Kentucky 27-14 with 8:16 to go in the first half.

And unlike the first three games, this time there was no letdown.

Cousins and fellow freshman center Daniel Orton combined for 32 points and 12 rebounds and Kentucky received plenty of production off the bench after the starters scored all 102 points in the win over Sam Houston State.

Kentucky led 51-26 at the break and never let Rider get within 20 points. At times putting Patterson, Cousins and Orton on the floor together, the Wildcats dominated the lane. Kentucky outscored Rider in the paint 56-20 and had 24 second-chance points.