DES MOINES, Iowa — Canadian Jamal Murray led five players in double figures with 19 points and fourth-seeded Kentucky routed Stony Brook 85-57 on Thursday night, setting up a showdown with rival Indiana in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Isaiah Briscoe scored 13 with 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (27-8), who haven’t faced the Hoosiers since beating them in the Sweet 16 in 2012 and came into this tournament with coach John Calipari saying his team was under-seeded.
Kentucky opened the second half on a 20-6 run and was ahead 53-25 with 14 minutes to go. The Wildcats hit 13 of their first 16 shots after the break.
Jameel Warney had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Stony Brook (26-7), which was making its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The Seawolves, who shot 47.6 per cent entering the game, was just 20 of 76 from the field and played like a team not used to the big stage.
Stony Brook opened the game with an epic stretch of bad shooting, hitting just three baskets in 27 tries with 14 straight misses at one point. That allowed the somewhat disjointed Wildcats to pull things together and take a 33-19 lead into halftime.
Having survived some rough moments with the lead in hand, Kentucky finally started playing like the team that won a share of the Southeastern Conference title yet again.
Murray went a ghastly 1 of 9 in the first half, But the native of Kitchener, Ont., scored 15 points in 10 minutes to help the Wildcats coast to a win that ensures a fresh shot at Indiana, which cruised past Chattanooga 99-74 earlier Thursday.
Alex Poythress and Skal Labissiere each had 12 points for the Wildcats.
Kentucky: The Wildcats were outrebounded 12-5 on the offensive glass in the first half. But their length inside was a big reason Stony Brook missed so many putbacks … Calipari has yet to lose to a team seeded lower than 10th in the NCAA Tournament.
Stony Brook: The Seawolves didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until early in the second half. Kentucky didn’t either, but the one the Wildcats hit to end their drought made it 47-25 … Carson Puriefoy bowled over a member of the Kentucky pep band going for a loose ball, then hung around to help the youngster up.
Kentucky will face the Hoosiers on Saturday for a trip to the Sweet 16.
Stony Brook’s season is over.