Gamecocks cooled down by No. 2 Wildcats in SEC opener

Terrence Jones snapped out of a mini-slump with 20 points on a near-perfect night from the field, and second-ranked Kentucky rolled to a 79-64 home win over South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday at Rupp Arena.

The Wildcats (15-1, 1-0 SEC) have won seven straight since a last-second loss at Indiana.

The Gamecocks (8-7, 0-1 SEC) kept things close for most of the first half, but Kentucky closed the half on a 13-1 run capped by Anthony Davis’ put-back dunk just before the buzzer.

Jones, who had not scored more than 10 points in any of his three games since returning from a finger injury, hit his first eight shots before missing his last one. Marquis Teague added 17 points for the Wildcats, and Davis had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double-double and his ninth of the season.

South Carolina had won six of seven with the lone loss coming against then-No. 2 Ohio State. The Gamecocks had topped 75 points in consecutive games after not having done so since the opener against Western Carolina, but the offense struggled a bit against Kentucky, despite four players scoring in double digits.

Kentucky improved to 61-1 under coach John Calipari when allowing 67 or fewer points.

South Carolina has faced three teams ranked in the top three this season. It lost to then-No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 25 and fell at home against the Buckeyes on Dec. 17.

The Wildcats have won four straight against the Gamecocks and lead the all-time series 45-10, including 24-2 in Lexington.

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