IU's defense was able to contain Kentucky's freshman sensation John Wall, holding him to 11 points, eight below his season average. In doing so the talented freshman hurt the Hoosiers with his passing skills and his ability to run the team. Eric Bledsoe was the beneficiary of the attention Wall garnered and the UK frosh guard led the Wildcats to victory in Bloomington with a 23 points.
Kentucky's John Wall didn't put up the points he has in recent outings, but his ability to get his team into the offense and run it set up an 18-0 second-half run that proved to be decisive in Kentucky's first win in Bloomington since 1981.
Kentucky took Indiana's best shot early, trailing by as many as eight points on two occasions as Indiana was hitting nearly every shot they took.
Indiana led for much of the first half and did not trail until Kentucky junior forward Patrick Patterson missed the second of two free throws, UK forward Darius Miller grabbed the rebound and Eric Bledsoe hit a 10-foot jumper on the baseline to give the Cats the 21-19 lead with 9:33 left.
Kentucky went on a mini run to extend the lead to 38-30.
Indiana quickly whittled into the lead as IU's frosh quickly responded to the challenge. Bobby Capobianco hit in a layup, Jordan Hulls scored on a 3 from the left corner and Derek Elston hit a 15-footer 38-37. The Cats and Hoosiers played even the remainder of the half to head to intermission with Kentucky leading 42-41.
The two teams exchanged body blows to begin the second half, with IU briefly taking the lead on a Jeremiah Rivers layup at the 17:42 mark, 47-48.
That's when Kentucky kicked in with the 18-0 run to take a 65-48 lead. IU's Tom Prichard scored in the paint more than five and one-half minutes later to stop the bleeding, the score stood at 65-50.
Indiana would pull no closer than a dozen points the rest of the way, and Kentucky would lead by as many as twenty.
John Calipari thought his team needed this type of win. "What I was so happy about is how Indiana came out and tried to run us off the floor and made every shot and just played with unbelievable energy," Calipari said. "We played well. I just want to tell the people of Indiana: We're not better than that."
What did Calipari tell his team when they took the 42-41 lead to the half?
"I said our job is to make it hard for them in the second half because they may come out and shoot 70 percent in the second half, but let's just make it hard," Calipari said. "In the first they shot 63 percent, 62 percent from the 3 and 100 percent from the foul line and we're up one. Well, guess what, we played well, too."
The Wildcats are 10-0, off to their best start since 1992-93. Kentucky's Calipari has matched the best start for a first-year Kentucky coach since Adolph Rupp in 1930-31.
Kentucky moved within two wins of becoming the first Division I school with 2,000 all-time victories, and perhaps more importantly to Calipari.
Wall scored only 11 points, but aided his team by doing more of the blue collar work Saturday. He finished with 11 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky's other frosh guard, led Kentucky with 23 points, including four 3-pointers. Patterson was his usual self, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. It was Patterson's fifth double-double of the season. DeMarcus Cousins tossed in 14; and Darnell Dodson added ten.
When in need in the second half Kentucky went to its strengths, and Calipari's game plan.
"We just wanted to keep the pressure on, continue playing basketball," Patterson said. "It started on the defensive end, we was talking, communicating, switching, contesting shots. DeMarcus (Cousins) and Ramon (Harris) had some rebounds and John and Eric were starting the break, pushing it."
Freshman Maurice Creek scored a season-high 31 points for the Hoosiers, including five 3s. No other player scored more than Nobody else scored more than seven points for the Hoosiers.
Kentucky won the battle of the boards 49-24, including a 21-8 advantage on the offensive end.
"We're making progress," coach Tom Crean said following the game. "Where we didn't make enough progress was on the boards. We've got to do a much better job of keeping them off the glass. Last year we played at Kentucky, it was a stunned locker room. Today, it's a a hurt locker room and that's progress, too."
Kentucky sophomore DeAndre Liggins saw his first action of the season.