LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Kentucky avoided a possible letdown in an emphatic way on Wednesday night.
Chuck Hayes scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Kelenna Azubuike added 17 points as the eighth-ranked Wildcats won their fourth straight game, routing William & Mary 92-47.
Kentucky (8-1) matched its highest point total and posted its most lopsided win of the season. The Wildcats’ 45-point margin of victory was their largest since a 62-point romp over Vanderbilt on March 5, 2003.
Coming off an emotional 60-58 win at archrival Louisville on Saturday—a game in which the Wildcats trailed by 16 points with 11 minutes left—some wondered if Kentucky might overlook William & Mary.
That didn’t happen. Thirteen of Kentucky’s 15 players who dressed scored and the Wildcats controlled every facet of the game from the opening tip.
“It was a good game for us to come out and play before the holidays,” Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. “It was good to get all of our guys some playing time.”
William & Mary (3-5) led once, at 3-2. Kentucky scored the next 11 points, and the rout was on.
Both teams substituted freely, as all but one player who dressed played in the first half.
But it didn’t seem to matter who was in the game—Kentucky simply dominated, as the Wildcats shot 48.7 percent from the field (including 11 dunks), outscored the Tribe 54-8 in the paint and outrebounded them 45-28.
“We had superior size. We should have rebounded better,” Smith said.
Kentucky also recorded assists on 27 of its 37 baskets—something that pleased Smith, who had emphasized passing in recent practices.
“It’s a good time to get our guys to understand they need to share the ball more,” he said.
When Smith sent his second string into the game for a 3 1/2 -minute stretch of the first half, the subs scored 11 straight points to extend Kentucky’s lead to 30-9. The starters returned and ran the margin to 42-13 before exiting again.
Kentucky led 44-19 at halftime. William & Mary came no closer than 21 points in the second half, and the Wildcats led by as many as 48 points.
“They’re pretty good,” William & Mary coach Tony Shaver said of the Wildcats.
The Tribe, without a starter taller than 6-foot-6, didn’t go inside much— their first seven shots came from 3-point range, and they didn’t attempt a 2-pointer for the first 11 1/2 minutes. William & Mary had almost as many turnovers (16) as shots (19) in the half and didn’t attempt a free throw.
William & Mary shot 37.2 percent from the field and finished with 32 turnovers, a season-high for the Tribe. Reid Markham and Taylor Mokris each had seven points for William & Mary.
“We were outmanned and we were outplayed,” William & Mary forward Hawley Smith said. “I think everybody saw that.”
Joe Crawford added 12 points for Kentucky. However, junior guard Patrick Sparks, who scored 25 points and hit three free throws with 0.6 of a second left against Louisville, went scoreless for the Wildcats on 0-of-6 shooting.
It was only the second time in Sparks’ career—which included two seasons at Western Kentucky—that he failed to score in a game. He did have a team-high seven assists.
William & Mary has lost 27 straight games to ranked teams since Dec. 7, 1977, when the Tribe upset North Carolina.