LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Not even a trio of Kentucky disciples could help Morehead State notch its first win against its state rival.
Kelenna Azubuike scored 21 points and Chuck Hayes recorded his fourth double-double of the season as No. 11 Kentucky rolled to a 71-40 victory over Morehead State, which has three former Wildcats on its coaching staff.
Morehead State coach Kyle Macy, a two-time All-American guard who led Kentucky to the 1978 NCAA championship, also has former Wildcats player Allen Edwards and manager Wayne Breeden on his staff. Edwards won two national titles with Kentucky, including the 1998 championship under current Wildcats coach Tubby Smith.
With hopes of recording its first win in eight all-time meetings with Kentucky, Macy watched his team keep things close in the first half, trailing, 29-23, at the break.
"(We) dug and scratched and finally made a little run and got into the game," Macy said. "We had a chance to get one good set and maybe cut it to three going into halftime."
"I thought they did a good job of changing the defense and going to the zone," Smith said. "It made us a little less aggressive offensively. We had some looks, some open shots that didn't go down. I thought that created a problem for us in the first half."
But the Wildcats (5-1) took control after intermission, opening the second half with 20 straight points. Azubuike scored nine during the spurt while Patrick Sparks added eight.
"The first half was ugly. We didn't play as hard as we could have," Azubuike said. "The second half, we decided to pick it up and we started hitting our shots. We got out and ran the ball more. ... I tried to take the ball to the basket as much as I could."
"We were able to get up and down a little bit," Sparks added. "Our defense paid off and that made it a lot easier to come out and execute. We knew we were capable of playing better. ... After halftime, we got going and came out strong."
Smith was unable to explain his team's fast starts to each half.
"That's the way life is," he said. "Some days you're up, some days you're a feather duster, some days you're a peacock. That's the way it goes. A lot of it has to do with your opponents. Kyle Macy teams are always very poised and patient."
Hayes had 10 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Shagari Alleyne posted career highs of 11 and eight for Kentucky, which improved to 28-0 all-time against Ohio Valley Conference opponents.
"I thought I played pretty well," said Alleyne, who also blocked six shots. "I thought there were a couple of blocks that I could have had and didn't get."
Josh Reed scored 10 points for the Eagles (4-2), who were limited to just 17 points in the second half.
"Obviously, we were overmanned from top to bottom," Macy admitted. "I thought we were very tentative in specific stages, especially to start the game and the start of the second half. We'll learn from it."
In winning their 17th straight game following a loss, the Wildcats opened the game with an 8-0 run. Quinton Smith hit a 3-pointer with 15:13 remaining to cut Morehead State's deficit to 10-6, but Alleyne scored six points during a 10-0 spurt that gave Kentucky a 14-point bulge.
"I thought Shagari played great tonight," Smith said. "I was very impressed with the way he played... He's really coming on and getting more and more confidence as he plays."
Trailing 24-8, the Eagles went on a 12-0 run that began with a layup by Reed and concluded with Chad McKnight's layup with 3:13 to go. Reed and Tramaine Stevens each scored five points during the outburst.
Cory Burns' 3-pointer with 1:22 left drew the Eagles within 26-23, but Alleyne scored the final three points of the half and the Wildcats took control in the early stages of the final 20 minutes.
"They're very talented, I don't think that's a news flash," Macy said of his alma mater. "But I think for this team to be a championship team, they've got to listen to Coach Smith. ... We were way overmanned by this team, but we were within six or eight points at halftime. Coach Smith shouldn't have to come in at halftime and chew on them, as he probably did, to get them motivated to play."