A game-by-game look at Kentucky’s 2011-12 national championship season, compiled by sports writer Mike Marsee:
Kentucky 108, Marist 58
Nov. 11 at Lexington
After winning two exhibitions by a combined 124 points, Kentucky kicked off the regular season in equally impressive fashion by outscoring Marist 63-22 in the second half.
Anthony Davis had 23 points and 10 rebounds to join Terrence Jones and Sam Bowie as the only Kentucky freshman to have 20-10 games in their debuts, and classmate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and seven rebounds in his first collegiate game. The Wildcats shot a season-best 61 percent from the field.
Jones, a preseason All-American, scored eight points off the bench hours after he was involved in an early-morning auto accident, and coach John Calipari said before the game he would institute a curfew for the Wildcats.
Kentucky which was ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press preseason poll, improved to 34-0 in Rupp Arena under Calipari by winning the first game of his third season in Lexington.
Kentucky 75, Kansas 65
Nov. 15 at New York
Doron Lamb scored 17 points, Jones had 15 and the Wildcats opened the second half with a decisive spurt to beat No. 12 Kansas in a matchup between the two winningest programs in college basketball.
Davis had 14 points and seven blocked shots for Kentucky, which trailed for much of the first half but broke a 30-all tie with an 11-0 run that began a minute into the second half.
Later in the second half, consecutive 3-point goals by Lamb and another after a Kansas air ball gave the Wildcats a 54-37 lead with 10:05 remaining, and the Jayhawks didn’t get within single digits again until there were 29 seconds to go.
Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague added 12 points each, and Kidd-Gilchrist also had nine rebounds.
It was Calipari’s first win in four tries against Kansas, where he began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant in 1982. The Jayhawks beat his Memphis team in overtime for the 2008 NCAA championship.
Kentucky improved to 20-6 against Kansas.
Kentucky 85, Penn State 47
Nov. 19 at Uncasville, Conn.
It was the first time in three games that Kentucky didn’t put five players in double figures, but it wasn’t a problem, as Lamb scored 26 points to lead a rout of Penn State in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.
Kyle Wiltjer added 19 points and Jones had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Wildcats, who held the Nittany Lions without a field goal for more than 11 1/2 minutes during the first half while they opened a 34-point lead.
Lamb hit six of his first eight shots — he finished 8 for 13 — and when his layup pushed the lead to 30 points with just under 5 minutes left in the first half, he was outscoring Penn State 17-12.
Penn State shot just 27 percent from the field, including 16 percent in the first half, while Kentucky shot 53 percent.
Kentucky 62, Old Dominion 52
Nov. 20 at Uncasville, Conn.
Darius Miller, Kentucky’s lone senior, came off the bench to score 13 points and hand out five assists as the Wildcats outlasted Old Dominion.
Kentucky led 50-49 before a 12-1 run late in the game, and the Monarchs went without a field goal for the final 7 minutes.
The Wildcats trailed 18-11 in the first half before Miller scored seven points in a 9-0 run to close the half and give Kentucky a 32-27 lead.
Kidd-Gilchrist had 13 points and Davis had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Kentucky 88, Radford 40
Nov. 23 at Lexington
Playing at home for only the second time in five games, the Wildcats trounced the Highlanders only after overcoming five early turnovers that caused Calipari to go to his bench in the opening minutes.
The Highlanders trailed 14-0 before scoring for the first time with 10:27 left in the first half, and they went on to miss their first 20 3-point attempts.
Kentucky went on to leads of 22-2, 29-6 and 45-14. Radford trailed by 43 with more than 13 minutes to play and shot just 26 percent, the lowest mark by a Kentucky opponent of the season.
Teague played his most efficient game to date at point guard, finishing with 13 points, five assists and just two turnovers. Jones scored 17 points and Kidd-Gilchrist added 15.
Kentucky 87, Portland 63
Nov. 26 at Lexington
Miller, who started 37 of 38 games last season, had another big game off the bench with 19 points in Kentucky’s victory over Portland.
Jones also scored 19 points and Davis had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Wildcats, who used an 18-3 first-half run to take a double-digit lead.
Portland pulled within six points in the second half before Kentucky put on a full-court press as part of an 18-4 run. Kentucky had just four turnovers, its fewest since committing two in a 1993 NCAA tournament win over Utah.
Days later, the Wildcats moved up to the No. 1 ranking with North Carolina’s loss to UNLV.
Kentucky 81, St. John’s 59
Dec. 1 at Lexington
Davis dominated the top-ranked Wildcats’ win over St. John’s, approaching a triple-double with 15 points, 15 rebounds and eight of a school-record 18 blocked shots.
Jones added 26 points and nine rebounds for Kentucky in a game that was much different than the last time the Wildcats took over the No. 1 spot, when they lost at South Carolina on Jan. 26, 2010 during Calipari’s first season.
Davis blocked four shots before the first television timeout, and the Wildcats set the school record with 2:42 to play on a swat by Eloy Vargas.
Kentucky got 16 points from Lamb, and its defense held St. John’s to 32 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers, the most by an opponent all season.
Kentucky 73, North Carolina 72
Dec. 3 at Lexington
Davis blocked John Henson’s shot in the final seconds to preserve Kentucky’s narrow victory over No. 5 North Carolina.
Reggie Bullock hit a 3-pointer for the Tar Heels to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 73-72 with 48 seconds left. After Teague missed the front end of a one-and-one, Davis blocked Henson’s shot, grabbed the rebound and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Lamb scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half of the heavily hyped matchup, which drew more than two dozen NBA scouts and front office personnel to the first meeting of top-five teams in Lexington in 13 years.
North Carolina led by as many as nine points in the first half — Kentucky trailed at halftime for the first time this season, 43-38 — and held a six-point lead in the second half before the Wildcats rallied. Lamb converted a three-point play as part of a 7-0 run that gave them a 63-60 lead, then hit a pair of 3s to put them up 69-64 with 3:47 left.
Davis came from the other side of the lane to block the potential game-winning shots by Henson, who got the ball from teammate Tyler Zeller after he drew a double-team.
Jones had 14 points and Miller had 12 for Kentucky, which improved to 13-22 against North Carolina. The Wildcats split two memorable games with the Tar Heels last season, losing in Chapel Hill and winning in the NCAA East Regional finals.
Indiana 73, Kentucky 72
Dec. 10 at Bloomington, Ind.
Christian Watford hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to give Indiana its biggest win in Tom Crean’s four seasons in Bloomington and knock Kentucky out of its No. 1 ranking.
Students and fans stormed the court to celebrate the victory, the Hoosiers’ first over a top-ranked team since they defeated Duke in Rupp Arena in the 2002 NCAA tournament.
Indiana twice led Kentucky by 10 points, the last time at 63-53 with 9:03 to play before the Wildcats rallied to regain the lead with 2 minutes to play. The lead changed hands three more times, and Kentucky led 71-70 with 48 seconds remaining after a driving layup by Teague.
But Kentucky missed two of its final free throws, setting the stage for Watford’s heroics. Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one at :19, and Lamb, who scored a team-high 19 points, missed the first of two with 5.6 seconds left.
The Wildcats had two fouls to give on Indiana’s final possession, but they couldn’t get close enough to draw even one. Instead, Verdell Jones dribbled into the frontcourt toward the corner, then stopped and flipped the ball back to an open Watford, who made his fourth 3 of the game with picture-perfect form.
Kidd-Gilchrist scored 18 points for the Wildcats, who committed 17 turnovers.
Kentucky 87, Chattanooga 62
Dec. 17 at Lexington