LEXINGTON, Ky. — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points, PJ Washington added 16 and No. 16 Kentucky used several runs to blow out rival Louisville 90-61 on Friday in the annual showdown for Bluegrass supremacy.
Seeking to regroup after last week’s 83-75 loss to unranked UCLA, the Wildcats (10-2) used a 20-6 run to close the first half. Their 24-11 surge over 8:41 built a 67-38 lead that eventually reached 32, a gap helped by 57 percent second-half shooting.
Gilgeous-Alexander finished 9 of 16 from the field to top his previous best of 15 points against Monmouth this month. Washington helped with 10 points down the stretch in the first half for a 41-27 lead that expanded as Kentucky earned its biggest series win since a 76-46 rout in the 1999-2000 season.
Playing its first rivalry game in 16 seasons without coach Rick Pitino, who was fired in October amid a federal bribery investigation of college basketball, Louisville (10-3) couldn’t keep up after the early minutes. The Cardinals shot just 35 percent and had their six-game winning streak stopped. Deng Adel had 13 points.
Louisville: The Cardinals starting with promise, making 5 of 10 shots. They closed the first half missing 11 of 12 and went scoreless for the first 3:05 of the second. Two fouls by 7-footer Anas Mahmoud within 30 seconds forced him to the bench and created a void that Kentucky exploited. He fouled out with 8 minutes left.
Kentucky: The Wildcats were energetic even when shots weren’t falling in the first half, allowing them to rally for a lead they didn’t relinquish. They outrebounded Louisville 44-37 and got 35 bench points. Hamidou Diallo had 14 points and Quade Green 13.
Louisville: Hosts Pittsburgh on Tuesday in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Kentucky: Opens Southeastern Conference play Sunday against Georgia, seeking its fourth consecutive regular season title.