Manchester's Gabriel scores 12 in Kentucky's eight-point victoryThe Sports Xchange
November 22. 2017 1:15AM
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Eighth-ranked Kentucky led by as many as 21 points with 8:25 to play before holding off a furious late rally by Troy en route to a 70-62 win on Monday at Rupp Arena.
The Trojans outscored the Wildcats 14-2 to cut the deficit to 68-59 with 2:57 to play.
A jumper by Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox pushed the lead back to double digits, and the Wildcats sealed the win from there.
Kentucky (4-1) got a team-high 17 points from Knox. Freshman Quade Green added 13 points, and Manchester, N.H.’s Wenyen Gabriel had 12.
Freshman Hamidou Diallo narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds.
For the game, Kentucky shot 44.1 percent, including 33.3 from 3-point range. The Wildcats won the rebounding battle 53-30 but once again had more turnovers than assists, 16-13.
Wesley Person topped Troy with 17 points. Kevin Baker and Jordon Varnado added 15 each for the Trojans (2-3).
Troy shot just 35.9 percent, 14.8 from 3-point range. The Trojans missed 23 of 27 tries from long range. Troy had nine assists and six turnovers.
Kentucky built a 34-21 lead in the first half with an 26-13 run to pull away from an 8-8 tie. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had six points, and Green and Washington four each during the spurt.
“The first half, I’m telling you for 20 minutes, I told them, ‘You played a great half.’ We’re just not ready to play 40 minutes because they will revert,” Calipari said. “They let go. They go back to their old ways. And that’s the fight. Whether it’s going to take a loss to a team that we should beat, and then they all get together and say, ‘We got to stop.’ I don’t know.
“At some point, we’re going to have to get to play 40 minutes of basketball. But we just have breakdown after breakdown as soon as we get a little fatigued and the game gets going a little bit and the other team starts grinding. But it’s expected when you’re coaching young guys.”
For the game, Kentucky outshot Troy 44.1 percent to 35.9 percent from the floor.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday. Kentucky plays in Rupp Arena against Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne. Troy is at East Tennessee State.