No. 2 Kentucky holds on to beat Alabama, 77-71

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LEXINGTON, KY. (AP) - Alabama’s plan to beat Kentucky involved swarming freshman Anthony Davis.

The only place he and the rest of the Wildcats found some elbow room was at the free-throw line.

Terrence Jones scored 15 points and No. 2 Kentucky hit all eight of its free throws in the final minute to hold on to beat Alabama 77-71 on Saturday for the Wildcats’ 47th straight home victory.

“That’s one of the more physical games I’ve played. It’s going to get worse. I’ve just got to fight through it,” said Davis, who finished 2 of 10 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line for 11 points. “There’s going to be other teams just like that. There’s not going to be any games off _ Vanderbilt, Florida, Georgia. They’re all going to be games where we have to come out and be physical.”

Kentucky (19-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) took the lead for good early in the first half, but Alabama’s Trevor Releford scored all 17 of his points in the second half to keep the Crimson Tide (13-6, 2-3) close until the end.

“We came into the game and we knew we had to be physical and hit them because they’re athletic and long in the front court,” Alabama’s JaMychal Green said. “Our focus mainly was hitting them, being physical and rebounding.”

All of Alabama’s hitting turned into foul shots and the teams combined for 45 fouls called.

Jones made Kentucky’s final field goal with 6:57 left, but the Wildcats hit 23 of 29 second-half free-throw attempts and scored their final 15 points from the free-throw line.

Green had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Trevor Lacey added 10 points for Alabama, which lost its third in a row, but may have provided a blueprint for how to slow the Wildcats.

“I always kept a body on Davis if he rolled to the goal because we watched him play,” Green said. “We saw a lot of lobs and dunks, so we knew that’s how he scored. We just kept him off the boards.”

But not out of the box score.

Leading 75-71 in the closing seconds, Davis blocked his fourth shot of the game and grabbed his ninth rebound when Charles Hankerson drove into the lane. Davis was fouled with 4.5 seconds left and made both his free throws for the final margin.

“Somebody’s hip was on him 24-7 until the game ended,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “As a matter of fact, they put a hip on him in the postgame handshake, too.”

That provided the Wildcats’ other opportunities to score.

Doron Lamb had 14 points, freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 13, Darius Miller 11 and freshman Marquis Teague 10 for the Wildcats.

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