UK Heads for Holidays with Win


AP Sports Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Reserve Kyle Wiltjer scored a

personal-best 24 points and a trio of freshmen sparked No. 3

Kentucky's 17-2 second-half run to beat Loyola (Md.) 87-63 on

Thursday for the Wildcats' 42nd straight win at home.

Freshmen Wiltjer, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all

had afternoons to remember as Kentucky (11-1) heads into a five-day

break before the schedule begins to ramp up.

Baltimore-based Loyola (8-3) stayed close throughout the first

half and pestered Kentucky, which was missing preseason All-America

Terrence Jones for the second straight game after he dislocated the

pinky finger on his left, shooting hand on Saturday.

Erik Etherly scored 14 points, Dylon Cormier 13 and Justin

Drummond had 10 points for the Greyhounds.

Davis contributed 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks,

Kidd-Gilchrist added 15 points and seven rebounds and Darius Miller

had 13 points. Kentucky hosts Lamar on Wednesday night before

renewing its in-state rivalry with No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31.

With a the Christmas break at hand, Kentucky needed to work a

little harder than expected after Etherly cut the lead to 45-41

with the first basket of the second half before Kentucky began

pulling away.

Wiltjer went 7 of 11 from the field after shooting 33 percent

over his previous eight games. His 3 early in the second half

extended Kentucky's streak to 799 straight games with at least one

from beyond the arc and Kidd-Gilchrist finished a dunk to give

Kentucky a 56-46 lead with 16:41 to play.

After a timeout, Etherly scored to cut it to eight, but

Kidd-Gilchrist and Wiltjer sparked the 17-2 run. A basket by

Wiltjer and a dunk by Eloy Vargas made it 73-50 as Loyola went 5:17

without a point because of Kentucky's throttling defense.

On one play, Davis crossed the lane and swatted J'hared Hall's

layup attempt for his third block of the game. Davis has 52 blocks,

on pace to easily break the school's season-single record of 83.

Jones again was not in uniform after his finger bent awkwardly

early in Saturday's win over Chattanooga. The 6-foot-9 sophomore

forward spent another game sitting sat beside Ryan Harrow and the

rest of the injured Wildcats after appearing in the first 48

straight games of his collegiate career.

Loyola's longest winning streak since joining Division I in

1981-82 ended at eight at St. Bonaventure on Sunday, and while the

Greyhounds hadn't played an SEC opponent in 28 years, they weren't

intimidated by the Rupp Arena crowd.

The Greyhounds only led once at 2-0, but stayed close and even

showed some swagger of their own, with Cormier doing his own

"3-googles" salute after hitting a long-range shot midway through

the first half.

After a 6-0 run gave Kentucky its first double-digit lead at

33-23, Loyola answered with an 8-0 run that was capped when the

Greyhounds stripped Marquis Teague in a halfcourt trap and Etherly

finished an alley-oop pass from Robert Olson on the break.

Etherly went right at Davis, one of the top college prospects in

the country, when he beat Wiltjer on the dribble and Davis couldn't

rotate over to block Etherly's emphatic dunk in time as the

Greyhounds trailed 45-39 at halftime.

The good feelings wouldn't carry over. After Loyola scored the

first basket of the second half, Kentucky tightened up its pressure

to pull away.

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