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Kentucky hands Notre Dame first loss

Dec 9, 2010 - 5:11 AM Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Terrence Jones, coming off the worst game of his young college career, scored a game-best 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as 17th-ranked Kentucky pulled away in the second half from previously unbeaten, 23rd-ranked Notre Dame, 72-58, at Freedom Hall as part of the SEC/Big East Invitational.

The freshman forward made 9-of-18 shots form the floor after a 3-of-17 effort in last Saturday's loss to North Carolina. Brandon Knight contributed 20 points for the Wildcats (6-2), who clamped down and held Notre Dame to 18 second-half points.

Ben Hansbrough led Notre Dame (8-1) with 21 points and Carleton Scott contributed 10 points and eight rebounds. The Fighting Irish played for the first time since downing Indiana State on November 30th.

A back-and-forth first half saw Kentucky hold an early 12-6 edge only to fall behind, 20-19, on Scott Martin's jumper with just over 11 1/2 minutes left. Hansbrough's three near the midway point put the Fighting Irish up 25-20 and both teams on a high-scoring pace.

The Fighting Irish used nine successive points to take a 38-27 lead with just under five minutes left, but Kentucky used a 13-2 burst to square the contest by the end of the half. Knight's layup in the final minute set the halftime score.

Note Dame had 18 points in the first eight minutes of the first half, but only reached that point total over the entire final 20 minutes. Kentucky scored the first six points, and Knight's trey near the midway point made the score 53-44.

Eric Atkins' two free throws cut the Irish's deficit to 57-53 with just over five minutes to play, but they never got closer the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Kentucky shot 40.4 percent from the floor, while Notre Dame made just 36.4 percent of its shots...The Fighting Irish went over 12 minutes spanning the two halves without a field goal...Hansbrough was held without a rebound...Knight had five assists for the victors.