LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Having faces familiar with the Kentucky program on the sideline helped outmanned Tennessee Tech for a half. Kelena Azubuike made sure it didn't go any further.
Azubuike scored 14 of his season-high 21 points in the second half as the No. 8 Wildcats pulled away for a 92-63 victory over the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles, behind senior Willie Jenkins' 13 points, hung around in the first half and trailed, 40-33. After they pulled to within 44-38 early in the second half, Azubuike sparked a 26-8 run with 12 points to put Kentucky comfortably ahead, 70-46, with 10:35 remaining.
"He (Azubuike) really looked relaxed," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "His focus and concentration were good today. In 22 minutes, he had 21 points, so that is impressive. We were able to have him play well. He's one of the guys we have to have play well."
Tennessee Tech (1-3) is coached by Mike Sutton, a member of the Kentucky coaching staff from 1997-2002. One of his assistants is Saul Smith, son of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith and a former Wildcats point guard.
"When you look at it, Mike Sutton's team played defense," Smith said. "They were pretty athletic. Early in the second half and in the first half, they were getting up and down the court and doing some good things.
"He'll (son Saul) learn professionalism, which he's seen over the years in his three years here, making the decision and understanding it's not all fun and games. But he did that here, breaking down the film, putting together film sessions...What are you doing when nobody is watching? Are you doing your job? Those are the areas that will help him grow up to be a responsible coach."
Azubuike, a junior forward, shot 7-of-12 from the floor and made half of his six 3-point attempts. The 6-5 forward is being counted on heavily to score for Kentucky (4-0) this season. Last season, Azubuike averaged 11.1 points last season but often deferred to seniors Gerald Fitch, Erik Daniels and Cliff Hawkins. He showed promise in the Southeastern Conference Tournament when he averaged over 14 points a game.
"Tennessee Tech is a good team," Azubuike said. "In the second half, we played better defense, made a switch and did what we were supposed to do more so than we did in the first half."
Chuck Hayes added 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting and Patrick Sparks scored 11 for Kentucky, which shot 47.5 percent (29-for-61) and converted 10-of-24 from beyond the arc.
"Chuck is just a beast," Sutton said. "He's one of the premier players in the country. He scores, and he has a good mid-range game. But you've got to keep him off the glass and off the free throw line. We couldn't do either one." Hayes had 11 rebounds and shot 7-of-10 from the line in just 18 minutes.
The Wildcats limited the Golden Eagles to 40 percent (20-of-50) shooting - the 36th straight game an opponent has shot less than 50 percent.
"Making the extra pass, and defensively we didn't give up the easy baskets (in the second half)," Smith said. "We gave up a lot of layups, I think they had nine in the first half. So we made a conscious effort to stay between the ball and the basket and that was a big change."
Kentucky raced to an 11-2 lead behind six points by Chuck Hayes and five from Azubuike four minutes into the game but Tennessee Tech stayed close. Jenkins, who picked up his second foul just over two minutes into the contest, stayed in and scored 11 points during an 18-9 run that drew the Golden Eagles to within 22-20 with 8:30 remaining.
Jenkins scored 18 points for Tennessee Tech, which has lost all four games against Kentucky. The win was the 27 straight for Kentucky against current Ohio Valley Conference schools.
"They (Kentucky) have a lot of depth, they're well coached and and outstanding team," Sutton said. "It was a big challenge. For portions of the game, we played well and in some spots we didn't play so well. Kentucky had a lot to do with it."