Having won all 34 of their games prior to Thursday night, No. 1 Kentucky was expected to make short work of No. 16 Hampton in their NCAA tournament opener. And that’s pretty much what happened in Louisville, as the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament took control of the game in the first half and ultimately moved to 35-0 on the season with a 79-56 victory.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the way offensively for John Calipari’s team, as he scored 21 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. As a team Kentucky finished with four double-digit scorers and shot 45.9 percent from the field, scoring 44 of their points in the paint and another 20 from the foul line.
And while the field goal percentage may look low considering the size of the opposition, that includes Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker shooting a combined 1-for-11 from the field. Hampton, which continued to compete throughout the night, shot just 28.8 percent from the field and 4-for-16 from beyond the arc.
And besides Quinton Chievous, who two days after spraining his ankle in a win over Manhattan accounted for 22 points and ten rebounds, no Pirate scored more than nine points.
Next up for the Wildcats is No. 8 Cincinnati, which edged No. 9 Purdue in overtime in the first game of the evening session.