LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Alabama men’s basketball team won its sixth consecutive game, and fifth-straight game to open Southeastern Conference play, with an impressive 85-65 victory over Kentucky on Tuesday night. The win not only snapped an eight-game losing streak in Rupp Arena for the Crimson Tide, but it was also the largest win by a UA team in Lexington since winning by 23 points (94-71) on Feb. 23, 1974.
Alabama (10-3, 5-0 SEC) was able to grab sole possession of first place in the SEC by handing the Wildcats (4-7, 3-1) their first league loss this season. Guard John Petty Jr. led the Tide with a season-high 23 points to lead three UA players in double figures. Guard Jaden Shackelford stepped up with 18 points and a career-high six assists to go with five rebounds while Joshua Primo added 12 – all coming in the second half.
Forward Herbert Jones scored eight points and two assists in eight minutes before exiting the game with an injured left hand and did not return.
The Crimson Tide’s offense was clicking once again as UA connected on 14 three-pointers (14-of-30) while knocking down 45.6 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc while holding Kentucky to just 34.4 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from deep.
Coach Nate Oats Postgame Comments
“Big win for our program, apparently we haven’t won here since 2006 so really happy for our seniors who have been here. I can’t say enough about (John) Petty Jr. and his overall play. Obviously, the threes were falling for him, but he did a lot more than that. He guarded. He rebounded. His leadership has been unbelievable the past few weeks so him, (Alex) Reese, and Herb (Jones) were huge for us in the first half when we opened it up. Herb was only able to play a few minutes, but his leadership is to where we’ve gotten in this program. Kentucky is a little bit down this year but they’re still Kentucky. I mean they’ve got pros on that team, that our guys went head-to-head with and guarded. I thought just the whole defensive mentality and getting stops when we needed to, we were able to spread them out. Our guards were able to take them off the dribble. We kind of got whatever we wanted off the dribble. It obviously helps when you make threes, so it’s great when you have shooters like Petty and Shack (Jaden Shackelford) and our bigs can make shots, too. (Joshua) Primo played good so, you can go right down the list. But big win for our program. Looking at our schedule to start the year, our first six games were probably the toughest six games in the league, if we can go 5-0 heading into a home game against Arkansas we certainly would take it.”
- The Crimson Tide led the entire game to take sole possession of first place in the league standings
- Alabama improved to 9-0 when scoring 80 or more points in a game this season
- Over its last three games, the Crimson Tide has now combined for a total of 265 points (88.3 points per game)
- Alabama shot 47 percent from the field and knocked down 14-of-30 from the three-point line while limiting Kentucky to 22 percent shooting (4-of-18) from beyond the arc
- Alabama had nine steals and force 19 turnovers which created a big 28-10 advantage in points off turnovers
- Alabama jumped out to a 10-4 lead within the first four minutes, but the Wildcats came right back to cut the Tide’s lead to 12-10 with 14:41 remaining in the opening stanza
- Kentucky tied the game at 17-17 at the 10:05 mark – the only tie of the first half
- Leading by a single point, 23-22, with 8:27 left to play, the Crimson Tide would score 13 of the game’s next 14 points over the next 4:39 to take a 13-point lead at the under four timeout
- Alabama went into the locker room holding a 42-30 advantage
- John Petty Jr. finished the first half with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-5 from deep to go along with four rebounds
- Alabama began the second half with an 11-6 run to pull away from Kentucky with a 53-36 lead at the 15:02 mark
- The Wildcats managed a quick 7-1 spurt to cut the Tide’s lead to 54-43 with 12:38 remaining
- That’s as close as UK would come as Alabama went on a 13-4 run to take its largest lead of the game at 20, 67-47, with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation
- The 20-point win was Kentucky’s largest home defeat for head coach John Calipari at Rupp Arena
- The Tide will look to continue its winning streak when it hosts Arkansas on Saturday afternoon inside Coleman Coliseum. The contest is slated for 2:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.
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