No. 4 Kentucky 82, Mercer 51
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Freshman Jules Camara continued his impressive play with a 15-point, eight-rebound effort as No. 4 Kentucky cruised to a 82-51 win over Mercer on Thursday night.
Wayne Turner also scored 15 points for the Wildcats (2-0), who led by 30 points at halftime and cruised in the second half.
Mercer (0-3), which shot only 30 percent from the field in losses to Georgia and Winthrop, struggled again with 32 percent shooting against Kentucky.
Overmatched against the bigger, quicker Wildcats, the Bears repeatedly were forced into taking bad shots or no shot at all _ they turned the ball over 21 times.
Kentucky led 49-19 at halftime, and the second-half highlights were provided by Wildcats’ freshmen and reserves.
A quiet Rupp Arena crowd came to its feet twice in the final minutes, first for a baseline drive and basket by walk-on Steve Masiello with 3:38 remaining. Masiello was fouled and made the free throw, to the fans’ delight.
Then, with 19.2 seconds left, Masiello connected on a lob to a high-flying Camara. The 6-foot-11 forward from Senegal slammed it home for the final margin.
In his first college game, on Tuesday, Camara had 10 points and 11 rebounds against Eastern Kentucky.
Terry Lawyer and Earnest Brown each scored eight points for Mercer, and Mark Adamson grabbed 11 rebounds.
Michael Bradley scored 12 points and Heshimu Evans had 11 for Kentucky, which played without Jamaal Magloire, Ryan Hogan and Myron Anthony. All three players finished serving suspensions for offseason misdeeds.
Kentucky guard Saul Smith continued to struggle on offense. Two nights after going 0-for-5 from the field against Eastern Kentucky, Smith took just two shots in 19 minutes.
The Wildcats made only 11 of 20 free throws, but the defending NCAA champions still extended their winning streak to 15 games.