Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 1 Kentucky Charges by No. 21 North Carolina; College Basketball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No. 1 Kentucky Charges by No. 21 North Carolina; College Basketball

Article excerpt

Moving gingerly on crutches and showing little emotion two days after suffering a season-ending knee injury, soft-spoken Kentucky forward Alex Poythress didn't hesitate when coach John Calipari asked him to lead the pregame remarks.

The junior's words and presence provided motivation for the top- ranked Wildcats to make sure No. 21 North Carolina didn't take advantage of his absence. Devin Booker and Willie Cauley-Stein each scored 15 points and Kentucky shook off the shock of losing Poythress by rolling to an 84-70 victory at home over No. 21 North Carolina on Saturday.

"It was good because I didn't know if he was going to be able to (be there)," Cauley-Stein said of his friend's arrival at Rupp Arena after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament in practice on Thursday.

The Wildcats (11-0) used their superior depth, length and strong shooting to convincingly beat the Tar Heels (6-3).

The Wildcats never trailed and eventually built a 19-point second- half lead, though North Carolina got within 66-57 midway through as Marcus Paige (14 points) warmed up from outside. The Wildcats answered with a 14-5 run over 5: 56 for another safe cushion.

Brice Johnson's 15 points led the Tar Heels.

"They were far more superior on the defensive end than our offense was," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I thought they dictated what we did on the offensive end with their athleticism, quickness, strength and size."

KU ekes out victory * Perry Ellis scored 14 points, including the go-ahead basket in the closing minutes, and No. 10 Kansas held on after blowing a 21-point second-half lead to beat No. 13 Utah 63- 60in Kansas City.

The Jayhawks (8-1) led 42-21 early in the second half before the Utes (7-2) stormed back. Jakob Poeltl's basket with 4: 38 left gave Utah a 55-53 lead, but Kansas pulled ahead and made six straight free throws down the stretch to lead by three.

Utah never got a good look at tying it, settling for an off- balance 3 from7-foot Poeltl from the corner that was partially blocked.

Missouri State beats SEMO * Marcus Marshall scored 21 points and Gavin Thurman added 19, including three 3-pointers, to lead Missouri State to a 73-61 win at Southeast Missouri State.

The Bears (5-3) opened the second half with an 11-3 spurt, including a four-point play by Austin Ruder, to take a 39-35 lead and never again trailed. …

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