Wildcats roll in home opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kyle Wiltjer hit seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points, Alex Poythress added a career-high 22 and No. 3 Kentucky routed Lafayette 101-49 in its home opener Friday night.
The Wildcats shot 65 percent (40 for 62) from the field, including 11 of 19 shooting from 3-point range, and Wiltjer set the tone by hitting his first two to open the game. He finished 7 of 11 from behind the arc, including 5 of 8 in the second half.
"We're not a 58 percent 3-point shooting team," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We're more like a 40 percent team."
Poythress followed up his 20-point effort in Tuesday night's 75-68 loss to No. 9 Duke by hitting nine of 10 shots and grabbing five rebounds. That led a good night for Kentucky's heralded freshmen class as Nerlens Noel added 15 points, Willie Cauley-Stein 14 and Archie Goodwin 13.
The Wildcats (2-1) won their fourth home opener under Calipari and 10th in the past 11 seasons. They also improved to 9-1 against the Patriot League.
Tony Johnson scored 13 points for Lafayette (1-2), which lost leading scorer Dan Trist to a sprained ankle during the morning shootaround.
Graduate transfer Julius Mays had 10 of the Wildcats' season-best 23 assists.
The win opened a three-game homestand for Kentucky, which was coming off a fairly solid effort against Duke. The Wildcats shot 49 percent in that game, including 4 of 10 from 3-point range, and were nearly even on rebounds (31-30) against a veteran Blue Devils squad.
And the confidence gained from cutting a 14-point deficit to three before losing carried over against Lafayette, which was playing its first ranked opponent since an 86-41 loss to No. 6 Villanova on Nov. 20, 2010.
The Wildcats came out hot, hitting their first five shots and six of seven overall. Wiltjer started it with consecutive 3-pointers, Mays added one of his own and Kentucky was on its way to its best first half this season.
The Wildcats ended up hitting their first five 3-point attempts and six of eight to highlight a 20-of-31 shooting (65 percent) effort in the first half. Their previous best was 58 percent in the opener against Maryland.
More pleasing to Calipari was how well his seven-man rotation spread the ball around. Everybody scored, with Poythress muscling inside for 12 points, Noel adding nine and Cauley-Stein and Wiltjer eight each.
NO. 6 NC STATE 94, UMASS 76: T.J. Warren had 21 points to lead the Wolfpack over the Minutemen at the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Richard Howell added 19 points and nine rebounds and Lorenzo Brown had 11 points and 10 assists for the Wolfpack (3-0), who had five players score in double figures and shot 8 for 18 from 3-point range.
N.C. State will play Oklahoma State in the championship game of the tournament on Sunday.
Jesse Morgan had 15 points for UMass (2-1). Chaz Williams and Terrell Vinson each added 13 points for the Minutemen.
NO. 14 MISSOURI 74, NICHOLLS ST. 54: Alex Oriakhi had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Earnest Ross added 16 points and the Tigers beat Nicholls State.
The Tigers (3-0) put to rest their tendency to start slowly -- at least for one game -- after senior forward Laurence Bowers promised to fix the team's energy problems after Missouri shot 23 percent in the first half Tuesday night against Alcorn State. Missouri used a 7-0 run within the first four minutes and wouldn't relinquish the lead after that.
Missouri shot 22 of 51, including 39.3 percent in the first half, bettering its 31 percent from its first two games. The Tigers also hit 7 of 12 from 3-point range and outrebounded Nicholls State 41-25.
Fred Hunter scored 22 points and T.J. Carpenter added 14 for Nicholls State (0-2).
COLORADO 60, NO. 16 BAYLOR 58: Askia Booker scored 19 points and the Buffaloes survived some dreadful foul shooting down the stretch to hold off the Bears at the Charleston Classic.
The Buffaloes (3-0) advance to Sunday night's championship game. They also earned a measure of payback for last March, when the Bears (3-1) knocked them out in the NCAA tournament's third round.
It wasn't easy for Colorado, though, which went 4 of 18 from the foul line. Andre Roberson missed two free throws with 3.1 seconds left that gave Baylor one final chance.
But Isaiah Austin's catch-and-shoot attempt was off the right rim as the buzzer sounded.
NO. 23 CONNECTICUT 77, WAKE FOREST 71: Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright each scored 16 points to lead the Huskies over the Demon Deacons in the Paradise Jam.
Napier scored eight of his points during a 10-0 run midway through the second half that gave the Huskies (3-0) a 59-52 advantage with 7:56 left.
Wake Forest (1-1) would get to within four (73-69) on a Travis McKie 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. But Napier knocked down four free throws over the final 28 seconds to clinch the win.
Daniels added 12 points for the Huskies and junior center Enosch Wolf added a career-high 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Codi Miller-McIntyre led the Demon Deacons with 21 points, C.J. Harris added 17 and McKie 16.
EAST CAROLINA 76, UNC GREENSBORO: Miguel Paul scored 24 points and Maurice Kemp put up 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead East Carolina to a 76-73 victory over UNC Greensboro on Friday night.
Akeem Richmond also scored 16 points.
The Pirates' 3-0 start is their first since the 2008-09 season, and Kemp has scored in double figures in all three games.
TULANE 76, NEBRASKA-OMAHA 52: Tulane's Jordan Callahan had a huge breakout game for the Green Wave, scoring 27 points to lead a victory over Nebraska-Omaha.
Callahan had scored only nine points in Tulane's first two games. With his total against Nebraska-Omaha on Friday, his scoring averaged jumped from 4.5 points per game to 12.