LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Patrick Sparks scored 16 points and No. 10 Kentucky dominated Indiana inside in a 73-58 win over the Hoosiers on Saturday.
Chuck Hayes added 14 points and nine rebounds for Kentucky (6-1), which has won five straight games and 12 of the last 14 in its annual series against Indiana (2-4).
The Hoosiers have lost four straight games, the third time in as many seasons they’ve had a losing streak of at least four games. The current streak has come against heavyweights – North Carolina, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Kentucky.
Indiana entered the game shooting 34.8 percent for the season and wasn’t much better against the Wildcats, shooting 38 percent. Junior guard Bracey Wright, the Hoosiers’ leading scorer, kept them in the game with seven 3-pointers and 31 points.
Indiana trailed by nine points at halftime. The Hoosiers’ first four baskets of the second half were 3-pointers – three of them by Wright – as Indiana pulled within 42-37 with 11:40 left.
Sparked by Kelenna Azubuike, Kentucky scored the next 11 points. Azubuike hit a 3-pointer to start the run, then capped it with a driving lay-in, a steal and an assist to Rajon Rondo, whose dunk put the Wildcats ahead 53-37 with 9:16 left.
Indiana came no closer than 13 points after that.
Kentucky continually took the ball inside, and it showed – the Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field and outscored the Hoosiers 38-10 in the paint.
Center Randolph Morris scored 11 points for Kentucky, and his backup, 7-foot-3 Shagari Alleyne, had 10 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots.
Indiana hit five of its first seven shots – three of them 3-pointers – to jump to a 13-4 lead. But the Hoosiers then reverted to their shooting woes, going without a basket for almost 8 minutes. After their initial spurt, the Hoosiers went 3-of-17 from the field the rest of the first half.
Sparks pulled the Wildcats even at 19-19 with two free throws 5:51 before halftime. That started a 16-5 Kentucky run to close the half, during which Sparks had 10 points and an assist. Kentucky led 33-24 at halftime.