The combination of Kentucky playing its best six minutes of basketball and Indiana playing perhaps its worst six minutes of basketball was too much for the Hoosiers to overcome Saturday afternoon in Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats (7-3) jumped to a 14-0 lead on their way to a 72-54 win, avenging a 70-51 loss last December in Assembly Hall.
“Obviously, everything that could have gone wrong for us in the first eight minutes did. Their pressure, intensity and enthusiasm level was as high as I have seen it this year,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said afterwards. “We contributed to it with turnovers and some quick shots. We got away from doing what we wanted to do, in keeping the game at a strong pace and that is a tribute to Kentucky and the way they played early on.”
Five players scored in double figures for Kentucky, led by a career-high 15 from junior Josh Harrellson. The Wildcats shot 50 percent and forced 20 Indiana turnovers, 15 of which came in the first half.
“We were delivering the ball to them,” Crean said. “Our youth showed up today, but Kentucky turned it up and had another gear and they used it today.”
After trailing 32-6 with 7:57 remaining in the first half, the Hoosiers (5-5) outscored Kentucky 48-40 the rest of the way.
Devan Dumes paced IU with 15 points and Matt Roth added 9.
Up next: IU is off until next Monday when they return to Assembly Hall for matchup with Northeastern. That game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Jones returns: Verdell Jones returned after missing three games with concussion-like symptoms. Jones scored six points in 19 minutes and appeared to be 100%.
Cold shooting early: Indiana shot just 23 percent in the first half, but improved to 47 percent in the second half.