Wildcats embarrass Gamecocks

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COLUMBIA - Joe Crawford tied his career high with 23 points and No. 25 Kentucky won its 11th consecutive game, an 87-49 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.

Kentucky's Derrick Jasper (5) is called for the foul in his battle with South Carolina's Tre Kelley for a loose ball in the first half.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Kentucky's Derrick Jasper (5) is called for the foul in his battle with South Carolina's Tre Kelley for a loose ball in the first half.

Crawford had 17 points in the first half to help the Wildcats (15-3, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) open a double-digit lead. Randolph Morris added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky, which hasn't lost since falling at North Carolina on Dec. 2.

It was the worst home loss for South Carolina (10-6, 0-3) since a 64-11 defeat by Wake Forest in 1915.

Crawford was 3-for-3 from 3-point range over the first 6 minutes. When South Carolina tightened up its defense, Crawford easily found his points closer to the basket. He had three field goals and Morris converted a layup during a 3-minute sequence to put Kentucky ahead 30-19.

When South Carolina cut the lead to 30-25 - the closest it would come the rest of the way - the Wildcats finished the half on a 7-2 run, including two free throws by Crawford.

It was the Gamecocks' fourth consecutive blowout loss - by a combined 112 points. The stretch began with a loss to No. 5 Kansas (70-54), and continued with flops against Georgia (80-56) and top-ranked Florida (84-50).

South Carolina plays at No. 22 Tennessee on Saturday.

Tre Kelley led South Carolina with 19 points.

Former Silver Bluff star Brandon Wallace was held to 8 points for the Gamecocks on 1 of 8 shooting from the floor. Former Josey player Dominique Archie had 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting.

Crawford left the game for good with about 5 minutes to play.

Moments earlier, the junior matched his career best of 23 points for the fourth time.

Crawford started hot - eerily similar to the 5-for-5 long-range performance Florida's Lee Humphrey hung on South Carolina to start that game - and the Wildcats picked it up from there.


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