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Kentucky powers past Marshall

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Never have so many people seen Marshall get outscored in the paint so badly, as they did Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena.

A capacity-plus crowd of 24,271 saw the host Kentucky Wildcats run wild in the second half en route to an 82-54 victory over the Thundering Herd.

The game had an eerie similarity to the last time the Herd was beaten that badly, a 98-61 disaster in December 2009: A defending, reloading national champion (North Carolina), a few days before Christmas (Dec. 22) and an awful second half (outscored 54-26).

The second-half count Saturday was "only" 49-30, with the Wildcats shooting an even 50 percent. For the game, they made exactly half of their 2-point attempts, went 21 of 27 from the line, and outscored the Herd in the paint 52-20.

And that figure came two ways: From the power driving of Ryan Harrow, who had a career-high 23 points, and from Archie Goodwin, who scored 18 despite being 4 of 17 from the floor. Goodwin didn't miss much from the foul line, hitting 10 of 11.

When UK (8-3) wasn't scoring on drives to the lane, it was Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein throwing their height and weight around. Noel had 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Cauley-Stein had eight points and seven boards.

Those two were instrumental in holding DeAndre Kane-less Marshall to 29.5 percent shooting, as they combined for five of the Wildcats' seven blocks. The Wildcats also forced 17 turnovers, turning those into 26 points.

"It's been a while since we got beat by 28," said Herd coach Tom Herrion. "I was disappointed with the second half, too many easy baskets, too many layups. We let Harrow get off the schneid. We wilted at times, which is uncharacteristic of my teams.

"We know we have offensive problems, but we have to rebound and be tougher over 40 minutes against a team like Kentucky. It's a lousy way to go into [Christmas] break, but we'll come back in get better."

The Herd (7-6) was fortunate not to be down 28 by halftime. Its last lead was 20-18 on an Elijah Pittman dunk with 11:43 left, but then it suffered 11 straight empty possessions. Amazingly, MU was down just 25-22 when Robert Goff broke the drought with a jumper.

But the last 5:22 belonged to UK, which scored the next six points and led 33-24 at the half.

"Could have been more if they made free throws," lamented UK coach John Calipari. "We missed five layups - Archie missed four layups, one breakaway. One for 13 from the 3-point line, and you're up nine. We could have been up 25."

One minute into the second half, UK was faced with the possibility of not leading at all. Pittman hit a jumper on the opening possession, Dennis Tinnon scored off a D.D. Scarver steal and Pittman dunked after a Nigel Spikes block ignited a fast break.

Cauley-Stein responded with a jumper and the Wildcats went off to the races, outscoring Marshall 29-6 over a 101/2-minute span. In that stretch, the Herd went 1 of 15 with six turnovers.

"The kids played really hard, we just obviously didn't play smart and our offensive inefficiency is just destroying us because it is putting so much pressure on our defense each time down," Herrion said.

Pittman led the Herd with 20 points, with Tinnon adding 14. Scarver, who went 1 of 7 from 3-point range, led with four assists - more than the one dished out by point guards Chris Martin and Tamron Manning combined.

The Herd did wage a respectable battle on the boards, losing that category just 48-43 and 18-17 on the offensive glass. Nigel Spikes had 16 rebounds, but scored only five points.

Calipari, who was 5-0 against Marshall while coaching at Memphis, liked that part of the Herd's game.

"The thing I liked about Marshall, very physical, bump-and-grind team that we outrebounded, and they were big," Calipari said. "That's what we needed. We needed a game like this. We needed a team that would play that way.

"Marshall is going to do fine. [Kane] being hurt really affects them, but they're going to be fine."

BRIEFLY: Marshall was held to its lowest point total and field-goal percentage of the season. It is 0-5 when outrebounded and 0-3 when scoring 60 or fewer points. ... Pittman registered his fourth 20-point game and his 11th double-figure game. ... Kelvin Amayo made his college debut in the final four minutes, grabbing a rebound. ... The previous high crowd to see a Marshall game was 23,782 at Rupp Arena on Dec. 27, 1994. ... UK is 12-0 in the all-time series, 8-0 in Lexington.

Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.

MARSHALL (7-6)

    M    FG    FT    R    A    P

Dennis Tinnon    23    4-10    4-5    6    0    14

Elijah Pittman    29    7-17    5-5    2    0    20

Nigel Spikes    24    1-4    3-9    16    0    5

D.D. Scarver    29    3-12    2-3    1    4    9

Tamron Manning    17    0-1    0-0    1    1    0

Chris Martin    22    1-6    0-0    2    0    2

Robert Goff    22    1-5    0-2    4    1    2

Jamier Hanner    12    0-1    0-0    4    0    0

Kelvin Amayo    3    0-2    0-0    1    0    0

Devince Boykins    16    1-3    0-2    4    0    2

J.P Kambola    3    0-0    0-0    0    0    0

Team                2        

Totals    200    18-61     14-26    43    6    54

KENTUCKY (8-3)

    M    FG    FT    R    A    P

Nerlens Noel    29    4-8    3-6    10    0    11

Alex Poythress    21    3-5    3-4    9    1    9

Archie Goodwin    30    4-17    10-11    6    2    18

Ryan Harrow    33    10-17    2-3    4    4    23

Julius Mays    30    1-7    3-3    3    5    5

Jarrod Polson    9    0-0    0-0    1    0    0

Twany Beckham    1    0-0    0-0    0    1    0

Willie Cauley-Stein    25    4-6    0-0    7    1    8

Kyle Wiltjer    22    3-9    0-0    5    0    8

Team                3        

Totals    200    29-69     21-27    48    14    82

Halftime - Kentucky 33-24. 3-point goals - MU 4-15 (Tinnon 2-2, Pittman 1-5, Scarver 1-7, Martin 0-1), UK 3-17 (Goodwin 0-3, Harrow 1-4, Mays 0-5, Wiltjer 2-5). Fouled out - MU (Goff), UK (Poythress). Technical fouls - none. Attendance - 24,271.


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