Rajon Rondo scored 25 points, setting a career high for the fourth time this season, and No. 23 Kentucky rebounded from its worst loss in 16 years to beat fourth-ranked Louisville, 73-61, yesterday in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky (7-3), which was in danger of dropping out of the Top 25 after a run of 87 straight poll appearances, had lost two of its previous three games, including a 26-point loss to Indiana Dec. 10.
Kentucky wasted little time asserting its dominance against the Cardinals (6-1), jumping to a double-digit lead in the first seven minutes and putting together its best all-around performance of the season. Louisville, playing away from home for the first time this season, made just one of its first 14 shots while Kentucky jumped to a 13-3 lead. The poor shooting proved to be a trend, not an aberration -- the Cardinals finished 21 of 60 from the field (35 percent).
After the initial Kentucky burst, the Cardinals scored 10 of the next 14 points to close that gap to 17-13. Then Rondo took over for Kentucky.
The sophomore point guard made a 3-pointer, converted a 3-point play, then assisted on a dunk by Shagari Alleyne, extending Kentucky's lead to 25-13.
Rondo went 10 of 15 from the free throw line and also had seven assists.
Taquan Dean had 14 points and six assists to lead Louisville, but finished 5 of 16 from the field.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino -- who restored Kentucky basketball to glory in the 1990s -- has a 34-3 record in December games during his five seasons with Louisville. All three losses have come to Kentucky.
It was the 350th career victory for Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.
Memphis 72, Mississippi 49 -- The No. 5 Tigers never trailed in Oxford, Miss., as Rodney Carney (19 points) fueled a first-half surge that gave Memphis (8-1) total control.
Tennessee 95, Texas 78 -- Chris Lofton scored 21 points and the visiting Vols (6-0) stayed unbeaten by handing the No. 6 Longhorns (8-2) their second straight blowout loss.
Oklahoma 68, Southern 54 -- Taj Gray equaled his season highs for points (22) and rebounds (14) to carry the eighth-ranked Sooners (6-1) in Norman, Okla.
Gonzaga 80, Virginia 69 -- Adam Morrison scored 27 points and the No. 10 Bulldogs (7-2) pulled away late from the Cavaliers (3-4) in Spokane, Wash.
UCLA 68, Michigan 61 -- At Ann
Geo. Washington 98, Md.-Eastern Shore 72 -- Danilo Pinnock had 18 points and five players for the 15th-ranked Colonials (8-0) reached double figures in Washington.
Wake Forest 61, Princeton 42 -- Eric Williams had 15 points and Justin Gray added 14 for the No. 16 Demon Deacons (8-2), who rolled at home.
N. Carolina 76, Santa Clara 58 -- The 19th-ranked Tar Heels (6-1) avenged last year's stunning upset as Tyler Hansbrough (14 points) led a balanced attack against the visiting Broncos.
Iowa 62, Arizona St. 43 -- At Iowa City, the No. 22 Hawkeyes (8-3) held the Sun Devils to 12 first-half points and broke a two-game skid behind 17 points from Adam Haluska.
Arizona 73, Utah 43 -- At Salt Lake City, Hassan Adams scored 27 points as the No. 24 Wildcats (5-3) registered their first three-game winning streak of the season.
S. Alabama 66, Houston 62 -- Richard Law and Chey Christie each scored 12 points and the host Jaguars (7-1) defeated the 25th-ranked Cougars (4-2) for their sixth consecutive win.
Pittsburgh 63, Vermont 52 -- The host Panthers improved to 8-0 for the fourth straight season as Carl Krauser scored 21 points to help subdue the Catamounts (3-5).
Harvard 61, Albany 48 -- Matt Stehle scored 17 points and keyed a second-half surge that helped the Crimson (7-3) post a nonconference victory in Albany, N.Y.
Wagner 63, URI 61 -- Mark Porter had 22 points for the Seahawks (6-1), who held off a late charge by the host Rams (5-3).
Hofstra 74, Dartmouth 59 -- Antoine Agudio hit five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 24 points as the Pride (6-2) toyed with the Big Green (1-4) in New York.
Salem St. 92, Southern Maine 81 -- Eric Downie poured in 32 points as the host Vikings (6-4) notched their fifth straight victory.
AIC 63, Post 56 -- The host Yellow Jackets (5-4) put together a balanced effort, with Jenar Harrison's 15 points leading the way.
Adelphi 72, Assumption 50 -- Jamaal Wagner and Eric Martin each had 15 points for the host Panthers (7-3), who held the Greyhounds (2-6) to 35 percent shooting.
St. Lawrence 2, Vermont 1 -- Mike Zbriger's goal with five minutes left lifted the Saints (12-6-1) over the third-ranked Catamounts (11-4-1) in Burlington, Vt.
Division 3 championship -- At Salem, Va., Nate Kmic ran for three touchdowns, including a 95-yarder, to lead Mount Union (14-1) past Wisconsin-Whitewater, 35-28, for its eighth win in 13 years in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
NAIA championship -- Tyler Emmert passed for 278 yards and three scores as Carroll (Mont.) capped a 14-0 season and claimed its fourth straight national title with a 27-10 win over Saint Francis (Ind.) in Savannah, Tenn.