LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- On a big play by Barbour, Kentucky escaped with a close shave.
Antwain Barbour scored on a three-point play with 70 seconds left as ninth-ranked Kentucky continued its home dominance of South Carolina with a 65-64 win over the 24th-ranked Gamecocks in a Southeastern Conference matchup.
Starting in place of the injured Gerald Fitch, Barbour scored on a driving layup as he was hit by South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman. Barbour, who finished with 10 points, then sank a free throw to give the Wildcats a 65-63 lead.
Carlos Powell made one of two free throws with 57 seconds left, but the Gamecocks would get no closer. South Carolina (19-4, 6-2 SEC East) had a final chance, but a corner jumper by Kerbrell Brown over Erik Daniels hit the side of the backboard and Cliff Hawkins grabbed the rebound as time expired.
"I had a bad angle," Brown said. "Daniels forced me to shoot from there with his defense."
It was the third one-point win of the season for Kentucky, which also edged Mississippi State and Tennessee.
"As a team, we stay positive in those tough situations," Hawkins said. "Defense, for us, wins games. Coach (Tubby Smith) works hard with us every day in practice on how we can improve our defense."
Daniels scored 17 points and Chuck Hayes added 15 for the Wildcats (15-4, 6-2), who moved ahead of the Gamecocks and into first place in the SEC East. The Wildcats have won 17 of the 18 all-time meetings between the schools in Lexington.
"I felt like our team played hard enough to win the basketball game," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. "This is not just any basketball game played in just any basketball arena."
The Wildcats survived without Fitch, their star shooting guard who sprained his right index finger earlier this week in a win over Florida.
"Certainly we miss his outside shooting and he is a good defensive player, but we tell all our players that, 'We are going to win with you or without you,' and that's how I operate," Smith said.
Kentucky made just 3-of-16 shots from 3-point range, but Kelenna Azubuike connected from long range with 1:43 left to give the Wildcats a 62-60 lead.
Mike Boyton answered with a 3-pointer 21 seconds later to give South Carolina its last lead at 63-62.
Powell and Mike Boynton each scored 12 points for South Carolina. Powell scored 10 of his points in the first half, which ended in a 27-27 tie.
Neither team led by more than six points in a game that featured 11 lead changes.