A close game for 10 minutes quickly swung toward the Wildcats (10-2) behind an 11-0 run for a 31-17 lead. The spurt typified their success on both ends. They kept the Cardinals (9-4) from passing and driving inside and grabbed offensive rebounds leading to second and third chances.
Herro thrived the most, making 10 of 13 from the field with four 3-pointers to pass his previous best of 18 achieved twice, most recently on Dec. 1 against UNC Greensboro. Johnson was just 5 of 13 but helped Kentucky keep a double-digit lead for much of the final 30 minutes. The Wildcats won their third in a row overall and 10th of 12 in the Bluegrass rivalry.
Christen Cunningham had a season-high 20 points and Jordan Nwora 17 for Louisville, which shot just 36 percent in having its three-game winning streak stopped.
Kentucky should rise after its latest impressive win.
Kentucky: Playing their first true road game in perhaps the most hostile environment they’ve faced, the Wildcats played at their tempo and were poised throughout. Besides creating good offensive looks, they edged the Cardinals 34-33 on the boards and forced them into shots they didn’t want. Ashton Hagans had 11 points for the ‘Cats, who shot 51 percent.
Louisville: The Cardinals showed early promise before being overwhelmed by Kentucky’s size. They were also undone by several sloppy stretches in losing on their home floor for the first time this season.
Kentucky begins defense of its Southeastern Conference championship on Saturday at Alabama.
Louisville opens Atlantic Coast Conference play Jan. 6 against Miami to conclude its five-game home stand.
By GARY B. GRAVES, Associated Press