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Morris, No. 22 Kentucky hold off upstart DePaul

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) -- Kentucky was finally able to shake DePaul
by taking a couple of charges.

Randolph Morris scored 20 points, including nine of Kentucky's
final 11, and the Wildcats (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 AP) held off the Blue Demons
87-81 on Monday night in the opening round of the EA Sports Maui
Invitational.

Two of the big plays were charges taken by Ramel Bradley and
Bobby Perry in the final 1:11.

"During a timeout we talked about helping on someone else's man
and we reacted, but we should be doing that throughout the game,
not just at the end," Perry said.

Bradley said DePaul was driving throughout the game "but at the
end you have to take the charge."

The Wildcats (3-0) will play No. 5 UCLA, which beat Chaminade
88-63, in the semifinals on Tuesday night.

Kentucky was never able to put away the Blue Demons (1-3) in a
game that saw both teams shoot better than 53 percent from the
field.

"I thought our kids did a great job of keeping their composure
and made some big stops," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.

Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler each had 17 points for DePaul,
which was within 74-69 on a 3-pointer by Marcus Heard with 4:45 to
play. Morris scored the last four points of a 6-0 run that had the
Wildcats up 80-69 with 2:50 to play.

Morris' last field goal of the game, a baseline move with 2:10
to play, put Kentucky up 82-71, but DePaul scored six straight
points to get to 82-77 with 1:22 to go.

Kentucky went 5-for-6 from the free throw line over the final 53
seconds and the Wildcats drew the two charges to finally seal the
win.

Bradley had 16 points for Kentucky, which shot 57.1 percent
(32-for-56).

Heard had 11 points for the Blue Demons, who finished 32-for-60
from the field (53.3 percent).

"I was really proud of our guys, they really hung in there and
showed a lot of maturity, which is important for us," DePaul coach
Jerry Wainwright said. "I always felt we were in a position to
win, but the last couple of minutes we couldn't make a basket and
let it get away from us."

Morris, who was 7-for-13 from the field and 6-for-9 from the
free throw line, had nine rebounds as the teams finished even on
the boards with 28 each.

"It all came within the flow of the game," Morris said about
his closing flurry. "When opportunities present themselves you
have to seize those opportunities."

Kentucky, which won this tournament in 1993, scored the first 10
points and was up 16-4 five minutes into the game. The Wildcats led
18-7 with 14:29 left after making eight of their first 11 shots
from the field.

Draelon Burns of DePaul then scored the next seven points of the
game -- he finished with nine. Kentucky was able to take one more
double-digit lead in the first half -- 33-21 with 8:50 left on a 3
by Jodie Meeks -- but DePaul was within 43-38 at halftime.

"We've been in that situation plenty of times before," Mejia
said. "We do a good job of keeping our heads in the game and
staying focused. They gave us their best shot in the beginning of
the game and we did a great job of coming back into the game."

The Blue Demons took the lead twice, the last time at 50-49 on a
layup by Mejia with 14:59 to play.

"When we get up on a team we haven't sustained the intensity,"
Bradley said. "Give credit to DePaul, but we stayed poised and
made some big stops. I thought we did an excellent job of
responding the right way."