CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Gerald Fitch scored 24 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 16 as third-ranked Kentucky continued its domination of Marshall with an 89-76 victory at at U.S. Bank Arena.
The Wildcats opened a stretch of four straight games at neutral sites on the right note with their 11th win over Marshall in as many meetings. The next three games will most likely be tougher as they face UCLA in Anaheim, California, Michigan State in Detroit and Indiana in Indianapolis.
"I thought it was a hard-fought game," said Tubby Smith, who coached his 400th game as coach at Kentucky. "Gerald stepped up well and shot the ball well when we needed him."
"It's great to have a close game just to show that we can pull it out. I think we are ready for this weekend (at UCLA)," said senior forward Erik Daniels, who scored scored 14 points while playing in his hometown. "It feels good to play in front of my friends and family. There were a lot of them out there. I was just trying to go out and play hard."
Brandon Stockton's 3-pointer - his only points in the game - gave Kentucky the lead for good, 18-17, with 12:10 left in the first half and the Wildcats turned a two-point deficit to a 36-23 advantage with 5:53 before intermission with a 21-6 run.
However, Marshall - which hit 10 3-pointers - did not go away easily. The Thundering Herd pulled within 64-60 with 11:19 left in the second half on two baskets and a three-point play by David Anderson. But the Wildcats answered with seven straight points to restore their double-digit lead.
"They were able to get (21) points off turnovers," Marshall coach Ron Jirsa said. "I thought that was a telling stat. They converted in the first half and late in the game. They really converted when the game was on the line and played a great game."
Jirsa was a former assistant to Smith at Georgia before Smith left for Kentucky following the 1996-97 season.
Marshall cut it to 82-76 on Marvin Black's follow shot with 4:42 to go before Kentucky again scored seven points in a row to end the game.
Antwain Barbour contributed 11 and Chuck Hayes had nine and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats (3-0), who won their 23rd consecutive regular-season game and improved to 8-1 all-time in the U.S. Bank Arena.
Ronny Dawn led Marshall with 23 points and Black had 18 and 10 rebounds.