EditorsNote: 8th graf, change fourth to second loss of more than 20 points; 9th graf, change shots to shot
No. 19 Kentucky got back on the winning track in a big way Saturday afternoon with an 88-61 rout of Utah at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Kentucky (8-2) put four players in double figures, topped by 24 from freshman Keldon Johnson. Freshman Tyler Herro added 17, grad transfer Reid Travis scored 16 and freshman Immanuel Quickley had 12.
That foursome made 26 of 38 shots, topped by Johnson who made eight of nine. Travis was seven of 10. As a team, Kentucky shot 58.6 percent, its best outing of the season.
Kentucky jumped out to a 41-27 halftime lead on the strength of a 12-2 run that converted a 10-2 deficit into a 14-12 advantage. Kentucky would continue that spree, outscoring Utah 39-17 until intermission.
Johnson and Herro sparked the first-half flurry with 15 and 10 points, respectively. As a team, Kentucky shot 53.1 percent, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range.
In the second half, Utah trimmed the lead to 57-47 but Kentucky went on a 13-0 run. Johnson and PJ Washington each scored five points.
Saturday’s game was Kentucky’s first without sophomore point guard Quade Green, who announced he is transferring immediately. Green ranked fifth in scoring at 8.8 points per game. Quickley’s 12 points was a season-high and Ashton Hagans dished out a team-high seven assists.
Utah fell to 4-5 after suffering its second loss of 20 points or more.
The Utes got 22 points from Both Gach, who made eight of 10 shots. Jayce Johnson added 11. As a team, Utah shot 44.4 percent and became the first team this season to outrebound Kentucky, holding a 31-23 advantage.
Saturday’s game was the 12th all-time meeting between Kentucky and Utah with the Wildcats having now won eight in a row. Six of those wins have come during NCAA Tournament play, including a 78-69 victory for the 1998 NCAA championship.
—Field Level Media