LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- No. 16 Kentucky saluted the 25th anniversary of the 1978 championship team with an impressive display of power basketball.
Frontcourt starters Marquis Estill, Chuck Hayes and Erik Daniels combined for 50 points to lead the Wildcats to an 88-73 victory over ninth-ranked Notre Dame in the final non-conference regular season game for both teams.
The 6-9 Estill led the way with 18 points, the 6-6, 247-pound Hayes set career highs with 17 points and 16 rebounds and the 6-8 Daniels added 15 points. Anchored by those three, Kentucky (13-3) had a whopping 54-20 scoring advantage in the paint.
"I came out ready to play and had a good game," said Hayes, who also had five assists and three blocked shots. "I've just been focusing on being better prepared physically and mentally."
"Chuck was in there throwing his body around on both offense and defense," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "I thought all of our post players were effective when we got the ball to them."
The power performance was reminiscent of the 1978 championship team, which featured bangers Rick Robey and Mike Phillips and baseline scorer Jack Givens. Fittingly, that team coached by Joe B. Hall was honored in a halftime ceremony Saturday at Rupp Arena.
Notre Dame (14-3) lost its ninth straight game to the Wildcats and has never won in seven games here.
"They are very good offensively and their big guys played great around the bucket," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "It's the number of bodies they come at you with where they are different than a Texas, Maryland, Marquette or anyone else we've played."
Kentucky improved to 4-1 against ranked opponents with previous wins over Gonzaga, North Carolina and Indiana and a loss to Michigan State.
Shooting guard Matt Carroll led the Fighting Irish with 29 points, but point guard Chris Thomas hit just 4-of-17 shots and finished with 14 points and nine turnovers.
"They kept a hand in my face and got good position," said Thomas, who was covered by Cliff Hawkins and Gerald Fitch. "They played a great game."
"He was trying to make plays for his team, but we kept the heat on him and took him out of his game," Hawkins said.
With its front line providing numerous easy baskets inside, Kentucky shot 52 percent while Notre Dame fired away from the perimeter and was 34 percent from the field.
"I was pleased with our effort, holding a great shooting team like Notre Dame to 34 percent from the field," Smith said. "We challenged most of their shots. Chuck set the tone early with his blocks and we did a good job of making Chris Thomas work to get them into their offense."
The trio of Estill, Hayes and Daniels were an astounding 21-of-32 from the field and also combined for 30 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
"The inside was open so we kept going back to it," Daniels said. "This is one of the best games we've played, but we can still improve."
Daniels scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting and Hayes had nine on 4-of-5 shooting in the first half when Kentucky built a 38-30 lead.
Estill took over in the second half with 14 of his points on 5-of-8 shooting, most of them coming at the expense of Notre Dame freshman center Torin Francis.
"We felt coming into the game that Marquis would be able to do well inside offensively," Smith said. "We tried to isolate him on Torin Francis and give him an advantage. We got the ball to him and he was able to make plays."
Notre Dame pulled within 43-37 on a basket by Thomas with 16:54 left, but the Wildcats responded with a 10-2 run as Estill scored six points.
Kentucky led by as many as 21 points at 87-66 after a basket by Jules Camara with 1:41 left.
The Wildcats raced to a 17-7 lead in the first 7 1/2 minutes as Notre Dame missed 12 of its first 15 shots.
After the Fighting Irish settled down and pulled within 19-13, Bogans led a 12-2 run with a breakaway layup and a jumper from the wing. Daniels capped the spurt with a layup, giving Kentucky a 31-15 lead with 6:30 left in the half.
Notre Dame closed the half with a 15-7 run as Carroll connected on a 3-pointer and Dan Miller hit a layup in the final 31 seconds.
Estill scored 11 points in the first seven minutes of the second half when Kentucky increased its lead to 53-39. The Fighting Irish pulled no closer than 10 the rest of the way.