Randle paces Wildcats to romp of Northern Kentucky
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Freshman Julius Randle scored 22 points and had 14 rebounds to lead the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats to a 93-63 win over Northern Kentucky on Sunday.
Aaron Harrison scored 16 points, and twin brother Andrew Harrison had 13 points to help the Wildcats (2-0) earn their second victory, both by 30- plus points. They shot 54.5 percent Sunday and held a 51-23 rebounding advantage.
The rout served as a tune-up to Tuesday's battle in Chicago against second- ranked Michigan State.
After Randle had 23 points and 15 rebounds in Friday's 32-point win over UNC- Asheville, Kentucky coach John Calipari complained he "stopped playing" when shots went up.
Sunday, Randle was asked if he thinks his level of play is making his coach happy.
"I'll try to," said Randle. "If I make 20 points, he is going to ask for 25. I am just out there trying my best and trying to get better."
Reserve freshman Daniel Camps scored 13 points, Tyler White scored 12 points and Todd Johnson had 11 points and eight rebounds for Northern Kentucky (0-2), which opened its season with a loss to Purdue by one point on Friday. The Norse shot 32.8 percent from the field.
"I thought that I did OK, but this is about the team and the team's effort," said Johnson "I just wanted to play hard and fulfill my role on the team. We had a good team effort today, and I am proud of the team for that."
From the tip-off it was all Kentucky as the Wildcats started with a 8-1 run. Halfway through the first, the Wildcats were leading 20-10 with Alex Poythress scoring seven of his nine during that span. Kentucky had a 13-0 run that finished with 8:16 left in the half to expand its lead to 29-10.
The Wildcat defense was stellar against the overmatched Norse as they allowed only 22 points in the first half. Kentucky ended the half with a bang on a Randle dunk to make the score 48-22.
One and a half minutes into the second, Kentucky went on yet another run, this time a 21-9 spurt that was capped by a 3-point play from Aaron Harrison.
After Jalen Billups drained a jump shot, the Norse were within 28 points with just under nine minutes to play which was the closest they would get the remainder of the contest.
"When I walked out on the floor and saw how big they were, I thought about turning around and going back in the locker room for a little bit. They are monsters," said Northern Kentucky coach Dave Bezold.
"(Randle) is just physically so gifted and a special player. He is like all young kids; if he works really, really hard he is going to be special at this level and the next one, too. He is one guy that we really couldn't physically matchup with right now."
Willie Cauley-Stein had seven points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky ... Poythress scored nine points and had seven rebounds ... Four of Kentucky's five starters were true freshmen ... The Norse, who hit 13-of-26 3-point shots against Purdue, were limited to 9-of-35 in this game.
11/10 20:08:53 ET