Top-ranked Kentucky gave up the first 11 points, still trailed at halftime and finally shook off a slow start to beat pesky Columbia 56-46 on Wednesday night.
In a college basketball season already marked by several big upsets, the Wildcats (10-0) got their toughest challenge yet from the Ivy League Lions. Columbia led for nearly 27 minutes before Aaron Harrison and the Wildcats took control.
Set to face North Carolina, UCLA and Louisville in their next three games, the Wildcats had trouble from the outset against Columbia (5-3). Coach John Calipari called a timeout as the Lions took an 11-0 lead.
The Wildcats clamped down on defense to make several stops in the second half and took the lead for good at 36-34 on Derek Willis’ two free throws with 13:18 remaining.