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2015 NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Demolishes West Virginia 78-39

The Wildcats turned on the jets in Cleveland and left the Mountaineers behind.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In their first truly dominant performance of the tournament, Kentucky utterly destroyed West Virginia 78-39.

Aaron Harrison got the scoring going by hitting a jumper at the 18:33 mark. Juwan Staten answered on the next possession to tie the game at 2-2 at 18:17. That was the last time WVU would score until Staten made another shot at the 11:19 mark. UK had run up an 18-2 lead by that point, and the game was feeling over already. The bucket for Staten started a 7-2 mini-run to cut the lead to 20-7, but a 10-2 answer by the Wildcats pushed the lead back out to 30-9. UK would eventually go into the half up 44-18.

Could the Mountaineers go on a run at the beginning of the half to cut the lead? No, they could not. Kentucky's scoring pace slowed off the bat, but WVU scored just one point in the first eight minutes of the second half. By the time West Virginia finally passed the 20-point threshold at 11:43 to go in the entire game, it was a 54-21 game. As the game wound down, neither team even bothered to take a timeout in the entire second half. The Mountaineers did manage to increase their output from 18 to 21 after the break, but it didn't matter.

Five Wildcats made it into double figures: Trey Lyles with 14, Andrew Harrison with 13, and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson, and Devin Booker each with 12. Kentucky nearly outscored West Virginia on its free throws and three pointers alone, scoring 38 points in those categories combined.

Staten was the only Mountaineer in double digits with 14, but he only shot 5-13 on the game. Actually, I shouldn't say "only". His 38% shooting was well above the team's 24% shooting, and if you take his out, the rest of the team was just 8-41 (19.5%) from the floor.

Kentucky moves on to face Notre Dame, which beat Wichita State 81-70 in the earlier game at the site. The Irish are a worse matchup for the Wildcats than West Virginia was, but if the Cats plays like they did in this game, no one can beat them.