Bolton’s 24 points lead No. 2 Gonzaga over No. 4 Kentucky

Sports

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Rasir Bolton scored 24 points, Drew Timme added 22, and No. 2 Gonzaga beat cold-shooting No. 4 Kentucky 88-72 on Sunday night in the off-campus Spokane Arena.

Julian Strawther had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Gonzaga, which was coming off its biggest margin of defeat since 2014 in a 93-74 loss to No. 11 Texas on Wednesday.

Oscar Tshiebwe had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Kentucky (3-2), but was in foul trouble much of the second half.

Kentucky shot just 39% in the game, compared to 56% for Gonzaga.

Gonzaga (3-1) dominated the first half. The Bulldogs led 25-15 with less than eight minutes left in the first, thanks to holding the Wildcats to 4-of-22 shooting. But Gonzaga committed eight turnovers to help keep Kentucky in the game.

Gonzaga went on a 14-3 run to expand its cushion to 41-25 by halftime. Tshiebwe, the reigning player of the year, had 14 points in the first half to lead all scorers.

Kentucky found its shooting touch in the second half, going on a 14-6 run to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 47-39. Kentucky’s Cason Wallace and Antonio Reeves then hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut Gonzaga’s lead further.

But Tshiebwe promptly picked up his fourth foul and sat down with about 13 minutes left in the game. Timme went off for seven points and Gonzaga led 65-55 by the time Tshiebwe returned to the lineup.

Bolton hit four free throws and a 3-pointer to lift Gonzaga to an 84-69 lead with 1:20 left to ice the game.

Kentucky coach John Calipari refused to play this game at Gonzaga’s home venue, the intimate McCarthey Athletic Center. The Spokane Arena has twice the capacity at about 12,000 seats and was packed. Gonzaga is 12-6 all-time at the arena, last playing there in 2014.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: Kentucky lost 86-77 to Michigan State in double overtime on Tuesday and beat South Carolina State 106-63 on Thursday, making Sunday its third game in six days.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs avoided consecutive losses for the first time since 2018. They have been ranked in the Top 5 for 52 consecutive polls.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Hosts North Florida on Wednesday.

Gonzaga: Plays Portland State at the PK85 Invitational in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25