LEXINGTON, Ky. — Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin each scored 22 points and the No. 8 Wildcats ran away from winless LIU-Brooklyn 104-75 on Friday night.
Goodwin added nine rebounds and nine assists. Poythress also had nine rebounds as the Wildcats (4-1) won their third in a row.
Fellow freshman forward Nerlens Noel added 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Kentucky. Julius Mays had 15 points and six assists and rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 for hot-shooting Kentucky, which finished 42 of 62 from the field (68 percent).
The Wildcats outrebounded the Blackbirds 41-24.
But it wasn't easy early. Kentucky had to rally against LIU-Brooklyn (0-4), who led by six midway through the first half and 43-40 before the Wildcats closed the half with a 15-0 run.
Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere each scored 22 points for the Blackbirds, who shot 42 percent.
There were 10 lead changes and nine ties, and in some ways the game resembled what Kentucky faced in Wednesday's 81-70 victory over Morehead State.
But whereas Morehead State played tough, physical defense against Kentucky, LIU-Brooklyn came at the Wildcats with quickness and scoring. The Blackbirds averaged 81.4 points per game last season and entered Friday's game at 80.7.
For most of the first half the Blackbirds showed the same determination as the Eagles did two nights ago. Boyd got his team started by scoring eight of their first 15 points, including three straight baskets to provide a 15-13 edge.
LIU-Brooklyn wasn't afraid to take it inside against Kentucky's big men, either.
Olasewere had a dunk and converted a three-point play after a drive on Noel. Boyd added baskets inside and outside and quick 6-foot guard Jason Brickman came off the bench to contribute a couple of shots en route to an eight-point half.
The result was LIU-Brooklyn's biggest lead at 32-26, creating some uneasiness among the Rupp Arena crowd of 22,221.
An 8-2 run helped the Wildcats tie the game at 34 and the teams traded baskets for several minutes before the Blackbirds took their final lead at 43-40 with four minutes remaining in the half. Kentucky closed with 15 straight points over the final 3:30 with the freshmen playing a big role – especially Goodwin, who scored six of his 15 over that stretch.
The Wildcats finished the half 23 of 33 (67 percent). LIU-Brooklyn shot 48 percent but missed its last seven.
Kentucky opened the second half with a 13-8 run over 3:54 to turn the game into a rout.
The Wildcats were more careful with the ball, committing just 10 turnovers while finishing with 28 assists.