COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tyler Ulis had career highs of 27 points and 12 assists, Jamal Murray scored 26 points and No. 22 Kentucky blew out South Carolina 89-62 on Saturday after coach John Calipari was ejected less than 3 minutes into the game.
The Wildcats (19-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) were tied with the Gamecocks and LSU for first place in the league. They proved again who’s tops in the SEC, sending South Carolina to its worst home loss since Anthony Davis led Kentucky to a 34-point win here in 2012.
And Calipari had to watch on TV after he was thrown out with the two technical fouls. Not that it slowed down the Wildcats, who built a 17-point lead in the opening half and gradually stretched things out the rest of the way.
Michael Carrera finished with 25 points for South Carolina (21-4, 8-4).
Kentucky quickly turned a battle for the top into a Wildcat runaway — all with Calipari in the locker room.
Calipari was sent packing less by official Doug Sirmons, who called the first technical when Calipari argued over the lack of a call on a rebound. When Calipari approached Sirmons after his first technical, he was quickly teed up again and his anger increased.
Three Wildcats had to get between the shouting Calipari and Sirmons before the coach was led off the court and into the locker room.
It didn’t cost Kentucky on the scoreboard as Carrera missed three of the four free throws from the two technicals. It was the second time in three seasons Calipari did not make it to the end of a game at Colonial Life Arena, thrown out late in South Carolina’s 72-67 victory here in 2014.
Sirmons wound up calling two more technicals in the second half, one against South Carolina’s Jamall Gregory and another against Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe in separate incidents.
Laimonas Chatkevicius drew South Carolina within 16-14 with two free throws when the Wildcats took off on a 16-6 run.
Ulis kicked it off with a 3-pointer, then added another jumper in the surge. By the time Skal Labissiere jammed home a sweet pass from Briscoe, the Wildcats led 32-20.
Ulis had 13 points in the half as Kentucky led 41-27.
Kentucky kept it up in the second half, opening up a 34-point lead late in the game. Marcus Lee had 11 points and Briscoe 10. Ulis and Murray each had four of Kentucky’s 11 3-pointers.
Carrera had 10 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season.
Kentucky: The Wildcats held Georgia to an 18-minute scoring drought over the two halves of their 82-48 win earlier this week. Kentucky held the Bulldogs to just 11 field goals, its best defensive showing since doing the same to Providence in 20014-15.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks know how to get to the free throws line, leading Division I with 715 attempts. They have had 10 games this season with at least 30 trips to the line, including 36 in the win over LSU this past Wednesday.
Kentucky hosts Tennessee on Thursday night.
South Carolina is at Missouri on Tuesday night.
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