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Kentucky Cruises Past Alabama Behind Break Out Game From Justin Edwards

No. 17 Kentucky used an offensive outburst to knock off SEC-leading No. 13 Alabama 117-95 at Rupp Arena on Saturday.

head coach had been saying it for weeks – it was just a matter of time before freshman had a breakout game. Saturday was that game, and it came at a crucial time.

With the Cats hosting No. 13 , Edwards had the game of his career. He scored a career-high 28 points, making his first 10 shots from the floor, including four from behind the arc, as No. 17 Kentucky beat Alabama 117-95 inside a noisy Rupp Arena.

Edwards became the fourth player in UK history to attempt at least eight shots in a game without a miss. He joins Rodney Dent (12 of 12 against Morehead State in 1993), Kenny Walker (11 of 11 against Western Kentucky in 1986) and Michael Bradley (8 of 8 against Pittsburgh in 1998).

Edwards was not alone, as the Cats placed five players in double figures. Antonio Reeves scored 24 points and had five assists. Zvonimir Ivisic had a career-high 18 points to go with five rebounds and four blocked shots. had 16 points and added 12.

Kentucky (19-8, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) scored first on an basket in the lane, but Alabama answered with a 7-1 run to grab an early 7-3 lead. The Cats then ran off six in a row, five of which were by Reeves, to lead 9-7.

The game would be tied at nine, 12 and 14 before Alabama scored five in a row to lead 19-14. Kentucky would get threes from Rob Dillingham, Reeves and to take a 23-22 lead. Alabama briefly took the lead back, 25-24, before the Cats got an Onyenso layup to lead 25-24 with 11:37 still to play in the first half.

After Alabama took a 26-25 lead on a Grant Nelson dunk, Kentucky got an acrobatic layup from Dillingham, one that briefly sat on top of the backboard, to lead 27-26. An Onyenso free throw made it 28-26 Cats.

A Rylen Griffen three gave the Tide a 29-28 lead but the Cats got a layup and a steal, basket and free throw from Adou Thiero to lead 33-28 with 8:42 left in the half. The run continued with a Thiero layup and a Justin Edwards jumper, making it nine UK points in a row and a 37-29 lead.

After Mark Sears scored for Alabama, Kentucky ran off 11 more points in a row, including a three-point play from Zvonimir Ivisic, to take a 48-31 lead with 3:39 to play in the half. The Tide would make four free throws in a row before Edwards hit a three and added a fast break layup, giving the Cats a 53-35 lead. Kentucky would lead 58-42 at the half. It was Kentucky's second-highest scoring half of the season, trailing only the 69 first-half points UK scored against Marshall.

Early in the second half, the teams traded baskets and Alabama eventually got within 13 points, 64-51. However, the Cats then got baskets from Reeves and Thiero to extend the lead to 68-51. After Sears hit a three for Bama, UK got an Edwards free throw, a Sheppard dunk and an Edwards four-point play to build the lead to 75-54 with 15:15 left.

The run continued as Edwards converted a fast break, reverse layup, giving UK a 77-54 advantage. A Reeves layup and free throw concluded the 12-0 and left the Cats with an 80-54 lead. UK made nine of its first 10 shots in the second half.

The onslaught continued. After Alabama scored to make it 80-56, Ivisic scored four in a row to make it 84-56. The Cats then went on an 8-3 run, with all eight points by Dillingham, to lead 92-59 with 11:04 still to play.

The Cats would extend the lead to as many as 37 points, 104-67, before setting for the 22-point victory.

Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday night, visiting Mississippi State in Starkville. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen ESPN.

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