LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kevin Knox scored 17 points and No. 8 Kentucky built a big lead in the second half before having to withstand a late rally by Troy to hold on for a 70-62 victory on Monday night.
After having to rally in each of its previous games, the Wildcats (4-1) led throughout against the Trojans (2-3). They built a double-digit lead early and extended it to 21 twice in the second half, a needed cushion as Troy fought back to within eight on Wesley Person’s three-point play with 1:08 remaining.
Knox came up with the last of Kentucky’s season-high 53 rebounds that preserved its second victory in the Adolph Rupp Classic named for the legendary coach.
Quade Green had 13 points and reserve forward Wenyen Gabriel 12 for the Wildcats. Hamidou Diallo had a career-high 10 rebounds to go along with eight points.
Person had 17 points and Jordon Varnado and Kevin Baker 15 each for Troy.
Troy: Entering the contest averaging 45 percent from 3-point range, the Trojans made just 1 of 14 in the first half and 4 of 27 overall. For a while they were nearly doubled up on the boards as a result and were beaten 53-30. Varnado extended his double-digit scoring streak dating back to last season to 23 games.
Kentucky: After making just 3 of 15 from the free throw line and committing a season-high 22 turnovers against East Tennessee State, the Wildcats improved in those and other statistical categories. They converted 15 of 23 chances, made just 16 turnovers this time and controlled rebounding by a 2-to-1 margin. But their lost focus and allowed the Trojans to make it interesting.
Troy visits East Tennessee State on Wednesday in the third game of the Rupp Classic before wrapping up play Monday against Illinois-Chicago.
Kentucky hosts Fort Wayne on Wednesday in the third game of the Rupp Classic before taking Thanksgiving off.