Kentucky rolls over Stony Brook

By Brendan Stiles, The Sports Xchange  |  March 18, 2016 at 1:17 AM
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DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a dominating performance, fourth-seeded Kentucky mauled 13th-seeded Stony Brook 85-57 Thursday in a first-round NCAA Tournament game at Wells Fargo Arena.

Kentucky (27-8) moves on to a Saturday showdown with fifth-seeded Indiana in an East Region second-round game. It will be part of a doubleheader that also includes Kansas playing against Connecticut in a South Region game.

After dealing with some shooting woes in the first half, the Wildcats caught fire in the second half by shooting 76 percent from the floor. No player better illustrated Kentucky's second-half surge than freshman guard Jamal Murray, who started the game 1-for-9 before finishing 7-for-16 for a team-high 19 points. He added seven rebounds.

"I absolutely love coaching this kid. He's going to be special," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "He has the mental makeup that he's never high, never low. He has the ability to score in bunches a la Stephen Curry where you just let it go and that ball goes in, but he's 6-5 and he has got size with him."

Murray was one of five Wildcats to score in double figures. Freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe tallied a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman forward Skal Labissiere had 12 points and six blocks, and Alex Poythress also scored 12 points. Tyler Ulis added 10 points and seven assists, with the seven dimes breaking John Wall's single-season assist record at Kentucky.

Stony Brook (26-7) kept the game close in the first half by controlling the glass and ended the night with a 46-44 rebounding advantage. However, the Seawolves missed 26 of their first 30 shots and finished the first half shooting 7-of-36 en route to 19 points, their lowest first-half total of the entire season.

"We needed good shooting tonight and we knew that," Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. "We had 25 offensive rebounds and worked hard in the game. But you got to shoot the ball in these games when you play a really good team that's well-coached and does a great job. They were really, really in us and wouldn't allow us to do a lot of things."

By the time Stony Brook was able to generate some semblance of offense, the game was already out of reach. Senior forward Jameel Warney was the lone bright spot for Stony Brook, tallying 23 points and 15 rebounds.

NOTES: Kentucky coach John Calipari has taken a team to the Final Four six times. He has four Final Four trips with Kentucky, all in the past five years. Calipari has the highest winning percentage in the NCAA Tournament among active coaches. ... Stony Brook was last in the NCAA postseason tournament as a Division III team in 1991. This is the team's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament and Stony Brook joined Division I in 1999. ... Kentucky won the only previous meeting, 62-52 in 2007. ... Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell was part of Jim Calhoun's first recruiting class at UConn and played four years for the Huskies in the late 1980s. He later became an assistant and coached current UConn coach Kevin Ollie, who as head coach of the Huskies improved to 7-0 in the NCAA Tournament here Thursday afternoon.

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