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Jan. 16, 2007

Final Stats | Quotes | Notes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Joe Crawford tied his career high with 23 points and No. 25 Kentucky won its 11th straight game, an 87-49 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.

Crawford had 17 points in the first half to help the Wildcats (15-3, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) open a double-digit lead. Randolph Morris added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Kentucky, which has not lost since falling at North Carolina on Dec. 2.

It was the worst home loss for South Carolina (10-6, 0-3) since a 64-11 defeat by Wake Forest in 1915.

Crawford was 3-for-3 from 3-point range over the first 6 minutes. When South Carolina tightened up its defense, Crawford easily found his points closer to the basket. He had three field goals and Morris converted a layup during a 3-minute sequence to put Kentucky ahead 30-19.

When South Carolina cut the lead to 30-25 – the closest it would come the rest of the way – the Wildcats finished the half on a 7-2 run, including two free throws by Crawford.

It was the Gamecocks’ fourth consecutive blowout loss – by a combined 112 points. The stretch began with a loss to No. 5 Kansas (70-54), and continued with flops against Georgia (80-56) and top-ranked Florida (84-50).

South Carolina plays at No. 22 Tennessee on Saturday.

Tre Kelley led South Carolina with 19 points.

Crawford left the game for good with about 5 minutes to play. Moments earlier, the junior matched his career best of 23 points for the fourth time.

Crawford started hot – eerily similar to the 5-for-5 long-range performance Florida’s Lee Humphrey hung on South Carolina to start that game – and the Wildcats picked it up from there.

Ramel Bradley added three 3-pointers in the first half. He finished with 15 points, all on 3s.

South Carolina threatened briefly near the end of the first half when consecutive 3s by Kelley and Brandis Raley-Ross drew the Gamecocks to 30-25. Bradley answered with a 3, Morris made a layup and Crawford hit two free throws to give the Wildcats the 37-27 halftime lead.

One game after Kelley questioned his teammates’ desire and skills, he was still essentially a one-man show for South Carolina.

Kelley had six of the Gamecocks’ 10 first-half field goals and 16 points. No other Gamecock had more than five points in the half.

Kelley was held to a 3-pointer in the second half.