LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - As the better offensive team coming into the 51st meeting with rival Louisville, Kentucky held up its end of the bargain Friday.
As the better defensive team, UofL, well, didn't.
The teams played evenly for the opening 10 minutes, and then it was all Kentucky the rest of the way.
UK cruised to the lopsided win at Rupp Arena, 90-61, shaking off a nationally televised loss at UCLA six days ago, and closing out its non-conference season with a nationally-televised domination of its in-state rival.
"They hit us on a bad night," UK coach John Calipari said of UofL, noting satisfaction with his team's effort. "We just played about as well as we could play, and mainly because we finally competed and battled for an entire game."
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 24 points. He also chipped in five rebounds and four assists for Kentucky, now 10-2 heading into SEC play Sunday evening against Georgia.
Teammates PJ Washington (16 points), Hamidou Diallo (14) and Quade Green (13) also scored in double figures.
Louisville held a 19-16 lead midway through the first half, but UK found a new gear and rushed to a 41-27 lead at the break. Kentucky would never let its guest get any closer in the second half, extending the lead at seemingly every media timeout. Gilgeous-Alexander's point total, a career-high, included 17 in the second half.
"They responded from a loss," UofL interim coach David Padgett said. "They obviously made a lot more plays than we did."
Deng Adel led Louisville with 13 points, much of it coming in garbage time, which began early in Lexington. Fellow forwards Ray Spalding and V.J. King added 12 points apiece.
UofL is off until Tuesday, when it welcomes Pittsburgh to the KFC Yum! Center to begin ACC play.
"If we don't learn from this, that's when it gets really bad," Padgett said. "We just have to learn from this."
Rex Chapman was the "Y" today and this game feels like his visit to Freedom Hall, never a contest— Kent Taylor (@KentTaylorWAVE) December 29, 2017
Including a loss to Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center last year, Kentucky has now won nine of the last 11 meetings between the rivals, and owns a 35-16 advantage in the all-time series.
Friday's game was the first rivalry renewal in which Rick Pitino was not prowling the sidelines since 2001. Following the game, a pleased Calipari was asked what he thought about his friend and rival not being there.
"That never entered my mind," he said. "It's the next game for me."
MORE RIVALRY COVERAGE
+ Cats, Cards set to meet for first time without Pitino since 2001
+ UofL-UK: Less star power than in recent years, but a rivalry win no less coveted
+ Billy Reed: Playing experience outweighs coaching experience
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