Kentucky romps in Calipari's debut
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe split between two Morehead State defenders, absorbed a bump and with his back to the basket flipped the ball toward the rim.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Swish.
Turns out John Wall isn't the only Kentucky youngster who can play.
Bledsoe scored 24 points as No. 4 Kentucky surged past Morehead State, 75-59, last night in coach John Calipari's debut at Rupp Arena.
Bledsoe was considered an afterthought when the Wildcats signed Wall, considered by many to be the top high school player in the country last year.
Getting the start after Wall was forced to sit out as part of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits from his AAU coach, Bledsoe dazzled the Eagles with a series of breathtaking plays in the second half that allowed the Wildcats (1-0) to pull away. Bledsoe's point total was the most by a Kentucky freshman in his opening game since Sam Bowie in 1979.
"If John Wall is better than him, wow," said Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall.
Wall is expected to play Monday when the Wildcats host Miami (Ohio).
Kentucky made Calipari the highest paid coach in the country to restore the program to greatness, and although he said before the game he wouldn't be surprised or particularly upset if the Wildcats opened 0-5 as long as they kept getting better, there was little doubt how much his first night as the coach of college basketball's all-time winningest program meant.
He stomped, he pleaded, he cajoled. He called a 30-second timeout after Morehead State's Kenneth Faried dunked to pull the Eagles within 52-39 with about 9 minutes left, and slammed his fist a couple of times while urging his team to go play ball.
NO. 1 KANSAS 101, HOFSTRA 65
Xavier Henry hit five 3-pointers and scored 27 points to set a school freshman record, and Sherron Collins added 23 points as the host Jayhawks hammered the Pride for their 42nd straight victory at Allen Fieldhouse.
NO. 2 MICHIGAN STATE 97, FLORIDA GULF COAST 58
Durrell Summers scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half, Kalin Lucas scored 21, and the host Spartans ended the first half with a 21-6 run for a 44-27 lead in rolling past the Eagles.
NO. 5 VILLANOVA 84, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON 61
Corey Stokes scored 20 points, Corey Fisher added 13 and the host Wildcats broke away from a 35-34 halftime lead in crushing the Cougars in the season opener for both.
NO. 7 PURDUE 89, CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 64
Robbie Hummel had 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks, and the host Boilermakers made eight of their nine 3-pointers to take a 55-20 halftime lead in beating the Matadors.
NO. 9 DUKE 96, UNC GREENSBORO 62
Kyle Singler scored 20 points and the host Blue Devils shrugged off the absence of two starters — guard Nolan Smith (suspension) and freshman forward Mason Plumlee (broken left wrist) — in routing the Spartans.
NO. 10 TENNESSEE 83, AUSTIN PEAY 54
Scotty Hopson scored 16 points and Cameron Tatum had 15 off the bench as the host Volunteers broke from a six-point halftime lead with a 9-0 run to romp past the Governors.
NO. 12 CONNECTICUT 75, WILLIAM & MARY 66
Senior guard Jerome Dyson had 27 points, eight assists and four steals, helping the host Huskies turn back the Tribe, who made 13 shots from 3-point range to keep it close.
NO. 14 WASHINGTON 74, WRIGHT STATE 69
Isaiah Thomas immediately answered the call for more scoring this season with a career-high 30 points, and the host Huskies nearly frittered away an 18-point lead before turning back the Raiders.
RIDER 88, NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI STATE 74
Mike Ringgold and Novar Gadson scored 21 points each, and the visiting Broncos used a 15-5 run en route to a 47-45 halftime lead and never trailed again in upsetting the Bulldogs.
NO. 21 GEORGETOWN 74, TULANE 58
Greg Monroe returned home and finished with game-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds as the visiting Hoyas used their superior size to wear down the Green Wave in the second half.
NO. 23 ILLINOIS 96, SIU EDWARDSVILLE 69
Freshman guard Brandon Paul scored 22 points, and the host Illini started the game with a 12-2 run and never looked back in beating the Cougars.
NO. 24 CLEMSON 84, PRESBYTERIAN 41
Freshman Noel Johnson had four of his team's 14 3-pointers, including three straight in a 18-4 first half run en route to 21 points as the host Tigers routed the Blue Hose.
NO. 25 MINNESOTA 87, TENNESSEE TECH 50
Lawrence Westbrook scored 22 points and the host Gophers finished the first half with a 15-7 run for a 37-22 lead, then started the second with a 16-5 run to romp past the Eagles.
IDAHO 94, UTAH 87
Steffan Johnson scored 19 points and Mac Hopson contributed eight of his 16 points in a game-ending 13-6 run as the visiting Vandals beat the Utes for the first time in 71 years, a span of 15 games.
UTAH STATE 66, WEBER STATE 60
Tyler Newbold scored 15 points and the visiting Aggies made 20 of 22 free throws, including 5 of 6 in the final 47 seconds to hold off the Wildcats.
FRESNO STATE 65, SAN FRANCISCO STATE 59
Paul George scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the host Bulldogs turned back the Division II Gators (2-1), who played the game as an exhibition.
BOISE STATE 90, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 87
La'Shard Anderson went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the final 35 seconds and finished with 26 points as the Broncos beat the Lions in the opening game of the Karl Tyler Chevrolet Grizzly Tournament at Missoula, Mont.
SAINT MARY'S 100, NEW MEXICO STATE 68
Ben Allen had career highs of 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, freshman Matthew Dellavedova added 19 points and the host Gaels routed the Aggies.