Cats blast Lipscomb

Nerlens Noel

Kyle Wiltjer scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Nerlens Noel flirted with another triple-double as the Wildcats rolled to an 88-50 win over Lipscomb on Saturday at Rupp Arena.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- John Calipari insists he likes his team. Now the Kentucky head coach wants to love it.

The Wildcats turned a full week on the practice floor into one of their most convincing wins of the season on Saturday, an 88-50 victory over Lipscomb at Rupp Arena, but they're still testing Calipari's patience.

"We made some small strides, but I expected more after a week of practice where we went hard," Calipari said. "... We're not quite there yet."

Kentucky (7-3) got 23 points and 12 rebounds from Kyle Wiltjer, who came off the bench for the first time this season and delivered the first double-double of his career. The sophomore forward from Oregon broke out of his recent shooting slump by hitting seven of nine 3-pointers.

"Obviously, he played well coming off the bench," Calipari said. "Probably his best overall effort, and it wasn't just about making shots."

The Wildcats also got another near triple-double from freshman center Nerlens Noel, who stuffed his stat line with seven points, nine rebounds, seven blocked shots and four steals in only 22 minutes of action before fouling out for the first time in his UK career.

Ryan Harrow (12), Alex Poythress (11) and Archie Goodwin (10) gave UK four players in double figures on the day.

Martin Smith paced Lipscomb (4-5) with 18 points. The Bisons also got 12 points and 11 rebounds from Stephen Hurt, but could not overcome 21.7 percent shooting in the second half. The Wildcats pulled away with a 35-11 run to close the game.

Kentucky held Lipscomb to 35 percent from the field and forced 24 turnovers, converting the miscues into 26 points.

"In a game like this, you can't afford not only to turn it over 24 times, but many of those are dunks at the rim or at the one or zero," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "You give up 26 points, and for a young team like Kentucky, they need that. They want that, and they got that, rspecially the last 16 minutes of the game.

"Teams that don't turn the ball over, that take care of the basketball and make Kentucky guard the possession and guard the shot clock are the teams that will give them (UK) problems. We weren't able to sustain that."

The only blip for UK was the opening moments of the second half as Lipscomb cut a 14-point deficit to 10 and had several opportunities to draw even closer, but could not get the shots to fall. Poor starts to the second half have haunted the Wildcats all season and frustrated their head coach.

"You win a game by 30-something, but you start the second half the same way, and I have to sub the whole team," Calipari said. "Their coach was right; we gave them a chance to get back in the game, to make it a four- or six-point game, and they just didn't take advantage of it.

"They've got habits that it's just going to take time to break."

NOTES:

* UK leads the series against Lipscomb 2-0 with both games in Lexington.

* UK started the lineup of Harrow, Julius Mays, Goodwin, Poythress and Noel for the first time this season.

* Wiltjer's double-double was UK's first 20-10 game since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist versus Indiana in the NCAA Tournament.

* Noel has at least six rebounds in every game this season.

* Mays had a season-high six rebounds to go along with seven points.

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