COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Cliff Hawkins and Kentucky appear to be peaking at the right time.
Hawkins finished with a career-high 21 points and 11 assists as the ninth-ranked Wildcats turned in a dominant effort en route to an 84-65 Southeastern Conference rout of South Carolina.
Kentucky (22-4, 12-3 SEC East) won its sixth straight and completed a season sweep of South Carolina. The first meeting was a 65-64 nail-biter in Lexington on February 7, but the rematch was not even competitive.
The Wildcats, who made 13-of-22 shots from the arc, took command with a 21-4 surge that opened a 30-14 advantage with just under four minutes left in the first half. They settled for a 38-24 cushion at intermission.
"Cliff Hawkins continued playing well for us," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "We shot better from the 3-point line than we did overall."
Any chances of a comeback were erased when Kentucky ripped off 15 straight points to build its largest lead at 62-33 with 12:15 left. Gerald Fitch nailed a pair of 3-pointers and Hawkins added a 3-pointer and a pair of assists in the run.
South Carolina (21-8, 8-7) lost for the fifth time in seven games. The Gamecocks were led by Carlos Powell's 15 points but may have put themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble after falling to 0-4 against ranked opponents.
"We never got a handle on the game offensively or defensively," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said. "Kentucky pretty much took us apart. I was disappointed, to say the least. I thought we would play much better."
Fitch, who continues to come off the bench since a broken right index finger sidelined him in early February, netted 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Erik Daniels added 13 points and Kelenna Azubuike chipped in 12 for the Wildcats, who shot 52 percent (31-of-60).
Hawkins was too much to handle for South Carolina as he dominated his counterpart, senior Mike Boynton. Kentucky's floor leader nailed a career-high five 3-pointers and his assist total matched a career high.
"Cliff Hawkins was in the lane with the ball early and often," Odom said. "We never got him out of the lane. When he takes the ball in the lane like that, he's as good as anyone in the league."