LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Antonio Reeves scored 22 of his season-high 30 points in the first half, helping No. 9 Kentucky overcome a slow shooting start and cruise past rival Louisville 95-76 on Thursday night in the annual battle for Bluegrass bragging rights.

Kentucky (9-2) missed seven of its first 12 attempts, but stayed within a couple of possessions behind perimeter shooting keyed by Reeves, who made his first four shots from beyond the arc and nine of 10 in the first half.

The Wildcats took charge for good at 19-17 on Adou Theiro’s 3-pointer and mounted several small runs behind 14-of-22 shooting to close the half and lead 53-33 on Reeves' 3 with six seconds remaining. Kentucky made 8 of 15 from long range and 19 of 35 (54%).

“I was hot, so when I got the ball I wasn’t thinking, was just off reaction," said Reeves, who made nine consecutive shots in the half. "I just shot it and went in.”

Reeves finished 10 of 15 from the field to top his previous best of 24 points against top-ranked Kansas on Nov. 14. Tre Mitchell added 18 points - including a 3 for an 86-61 lead with 5:29 left that sparked cheers from a mostly blue-clad crowd - and 12 rebounds as the Wildcats shot 51% to earn their third consecutive series win over the Cardinals, this time in front of an announced crowd of 17,293.

Justin Edwards had 13 points, with Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard adding 12 and 11 points, respectively. But veterans Reeves and Mitchell got it started, helping Kentucky seize momentum in a highly charged environment.

“It could be anybody’s night, any given night," Mitchell added. “You don’t know who it’s going to be. It just so happened to be that it was us.”

Skyy Clark had 20 points and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Louisville (5-7), which looked to follow up Sunday's rout of Pepperdine by upsetting their archrival. Louisville shot 42% but edged Kentucky 43-42 in the second half and were outrebounded just 37-35.

“I talked to the guys about the first 10 minutes of the game, what it felt like how you had them on their heels a little bit," Cardinals coach Kenny Payne said, "and I talked about the next 10 minutes of the game and how we stopped sharing the ball. We didn’t get back in transition, and the guy goes off for 22 points.”


Kentucky coach John Calipari said he granted permission for 7-footer Zvonimir Ivisic to go home to Croatia for the holiday break, but said nothing had changed in terms of his eligibility status under review by the NCAA.

“He’s going to go home and be back before the Illinois State game (Dec. 29)," Calipari said. "Hopefully, we hear something.”


Kentucky played the pace it wanted and created good looks, and it was just a matter of how soon the shots start falling. Reeves had no such issues, and that set the tone for the Wildcats to follow suit and keep firing as they reached double digits from long range for the fifth time this season.

Louisville: The Cardinals started strong and competed for about 10 minutes, but couldn't sustain that intensity against a deeper, patient Kentucky squad. They certainly couldn't match their perimeter shooting, hitting just 4 of 17.


Kentucky hosts Illinois State on Dec. 29 in its final non-conference prep before opening Southeastern Conference play at Florida on Jan. 6.

Louisville resumes Atlantic Coast Conference play at Virginia on Jan. 3.


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