Four Kentucky players scored in double figures Saturday as the Wildcats bounced back with an impressive road win at Missouri, 84-79.
Aaron Harrison led No. 11 UK (16-5, 6-2 SEC) with 21 points, including six in the final four minutes of the game as the Cats withstood a determined Missouri rally from a 16-point deficit.
It was a resilient victory for the Cats, who were coming off a disappointing 87-82 loss Tuesday at LSU and have been plagued by travel issues due to the recent winter storm that has affected a large portion of the southeast.
"Yesterday was a tough travel day," UK assistant coach John Robic said. "We ended up not being able to fly into Columbia, diverted to St. Louis, wait two and a half hours for our busses to get there, then the two hour bus ride in an ice storm. We got in after midnight last night, but the kids bounced back... They were tough."
The Wildcats also got double-figure scoring from James Young (20), Julius Randle (18) and Andrew Harrison (14) on a day when they shot 54 percent from the floor, made eight of 14 from 3-point range, and committed just seven turnovers.
Like Harrison, Randle was at his best down the stretch. He scored eight points in the final 6:26 and finished with a team-high nine rebounds and three steals.
"They came through almost every time," Robic said.
Missouri (16-5, 4-4 SEC) lost for just the third time in 46 games on its home floor under coach Frank Haith. The Tigers got 61 combined points from guards Jabari Brown (33) and Jordan Clarkson (28), but could not match the UK's balance. The Cats had a 29-10 scoring advantage from their frontcourt.
The Tigers shot 53 percent from the floor and beat UK's transition defense repeatedly for easy baskets. That shortcoming forced the Cats to play several stretches of zone defense during the game, a rarity under head coach John Calipari. Robic said it was the most zone he's ever seen his boss use in 18 years together on the bench.
"It's a hard-fought, well-deserved win," Robic said. "A good response coming off a tough loss at LSU where we didn't play particularly well. Any time you play on the road and get a win, it's big... It's pretty rewarding."
* Kentucky now leads the series against Missouri 6-0. It marked UK's first win at Columbia.
* Freshman center Dakari Johnson earned his first career start as a Wildcat and marked the first time in program history that five freshmen have started a road game for UK.
* Aaron Harrison was 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Kentucky finished 16 of 24 as a team.
* It marked the first back-to-back 20-point games in James Young's career. He had 23 at LSU. The freshman wing also became only the fourth UK player to make 50 or more 3-pointers in his first season with the Cats.