LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 21: The Kentucky Wildcats cheerleaders perform at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
There's more to the story when you become an Insider. WCPO Insider's membership is an additional benefit on top of everything you can get for free on WCPO.com. We created an entire digital organization dedicated to bringing you exclusive access to in-depth stories that you can’t get anywhere else, handpicked events, and incredible savings on things you love to do. To find out more click here.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- James Young scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half and No. 11 Kentucky used solid defense to hand Boise State its first loss, 70-55 on Tuesday night.
Outrebounded by 15 in losing to No. 14 Baylor last Friday, the Wildcats (8-2) bounced back by dominating the Broncos (8-1) 43-27 on the glass. Kentucky held the nation's No. 2 offense 37 points below its average, limiting Boise State to 8-of-35 shooting in the second half and 22 of 69 overall (32 percent).
Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein had a lot to do with that, matching his career high with nine blocks.
Julius Randle had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, while guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison each scored 13 points and combined for seven rebounds.
Kentucky's 27-of-51 shooting (53 percent) helped deny Boise State its first 9-0 start.
Anthony Drmic scored 18 points and Derrick Marks had 14 as the Broncos made just five 3-pointers after averaging 8.2 per game coming in.
Miffed at being beaten on the glass for the first time this season and wilting in the final 13 minutes against Baylor, the Wildcats got back on track by displaying more aggression and energy, just what they needed with another test looming on Saturday at No. 18 North Carolina.
Kentucky certainly needed to be locked in better mentally against the Broncos and particularly without freshman forward Marcus Lee, who was sidelined by a stomach illness. Cauley-Stein was up to the challenge from the start, blocking five shots in the first half while debuting a new blonde hairdo.
His inside presence was certainly needed considering all the offensive threats the Broncos of the Mountain West Conference posed. Boise State returned its entire starting lineup from last year's NCAA tournament squad and entered with four of them averaging in double figures.
And with leading scorer Drmic back in the lineup after missing the previous game with an undisclosed illness, the Broncos did everything they could to follow up last week's 28-point rout of Carroll College.
The Broncos' junior guard/forward seemed like his old self by challenging Kentucky inside and out in scoring 13 first-half points. He provided the energy that helped them take a 14-13 lead and stay within reach of Kentucky.
The Wildcats answered with improved intensity that helped them control the boards and the inside of the uptempo game. Young's 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc en route to 17 points in the first half provided a necessary boost offensively as Kentucky made 17 of 31 from the field (55 percent).
More critical was Kentucky's defense highlighted by Randle's eight rebounds and Cauley-Stein's shot blocking as the Wildcats held the Broncos to 41 percent shooting in building a 41-31 halftime lead.
Kentucky eventually widened it to 19 points with 8 1/2 minutes remaining as Boise State missed 19 of 23 shots, some of which were altered by Cauley-Stein and Randle. The Wildcats ended up outscoring the Broncos 44-24 in the paint, offsetting 19 turnovers.