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"Our scouting report said they couldn't make 3s and they made 15," ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. "So, obviously, if the rest of the tournament they shoot the ball the way they did tonight, they're obviously going to be a very tough out."
Meanwhile, Kentucky held the Bucs to 35.9 percent shooting (23 of 64). The Bucs seemed so rattled they had trouble hitting free throws, missing 16 of their 37 attempts from the foul line.
Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins blocked four shots, and Bledsoe had four steals.
"They're very good at both ends of the floor, and we knew that coming in," Bartow said. "I'm really, really proud of our team. We've had a good year. It's been a very challenging year. But we knew we'd have to play a great, great game tonight. Just the first half we didn't play well enough on either end to make it much of a game."
Kentucky started fast and never looked back. Patterson had 11 points before seven minutes had elapsed, and his breakaway two-handed jam on a long pass from DeAndre Liggins highlighted a 14-0 run that staked the Wildcats to a 23-10 lead.
Bledsoe hit four 3s in the first half, when Kentucky also threw down a slew of alley-oop dunks. The Wildcats widened their lead to 30 when Ramon Harris' 3 made it 54-24 with 1:11 to go before halftime.
Kentucky was better from 3-point range in the first half (7 of 14), than ETSU was from the free throw line (2 of 11). The Bucs missed their first eight foul shots before Tommy Hubbard put back the last of those misses as he was fouled and converted the three-point play.
Moments later, Kentucky was back on the attack, with Darnell Dodson finding Daniel Orton for an alley-oop jam. Patterson followed with a dunk on a strong baseline move, and after Hubbard's jumper on the other end, Orton heaved another alley-oop lob that Patterson skied to grab and throw down.
By halftime, Kentucky led 54-26, and it was obvious that youth and inexperience weren't going to be a problem for Wildcats -- not in the first round, anyway.
"I want them to have more fun than any team in this tournament," Calipari said. "I don't know how far we can go with a team this inexperienced. But I'll tell you, if they're having fun, it will be as far as they can possibly go."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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