This was your classic good news / bad news moment.
Alabama basketball’s historically good open to SEC games included a blowout 85-65 victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena. It broke an eight-game slip in Lexington for its first win there in 15 years. Prior to Tuesday, the tide has not been 5-0 in SEC games since 1987.
It was the most skewed home loss of the John Calipari era, beginning in 2009.
It was good.
Having two starters go down with injuries casts a little shadow for this result. Star senior Herbert Jones went down and grabbed his hand in the first half before Jordan Transfer could not put any weight on the foot in the second half.
Most of the attention went to Jones after he underwent a broken wrist last season.
Oats also said Bruner’s knees would be assessed by doctors when flying home.
Alabama (10-3, 5-0 SEC) nearly equaled a season high with 14 shots made behind the arc, still tracking the 15 from the win over UNLV. It was the tide’s sixth win in a row since it fell to Western Kentucky on December 19th. It is a race that includes victories over the top 5 in Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and now Kentucky.
The final margin of 20 points was a match-high as John Petty went to a season-high 23 on a night in which Alabama finished the game without three starters. Point guard Jahvon Quinerly missed his third straight game with an undisclosed medical problem.
Petty did his part with efficiency. The Huntsville senior went 4-for-7 from a 3-point range to the top of his previous season high of 22 sets against UNLV on December 1st.
Kentucky (4-7, 3-1) had no response to Alabama’s penetrating guards from Petty to Jaden Shackelford and Jones before his injury. A handful of easy layups or dunks were the result of Wildcat’s inability to switch when the ball got in the paint.
Alabama also took advantage of sloppy wildcat play at the offensive end. The 19 Kentucky turnovers turned into 28 Crimson Tide points on a night the Wildcats finished with a 44-36 rebound edge.
“Kentucky is obviously down this year,” Oats said, “but they are still Kentucky.”
The hosts also continued a season-long match from 3-point range, making only 4-for-18.
Alabama will host Arkansas at 14.30 CT Saturday at Coleman Coliseum.
Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.