LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- By the time Kentucky finished its border battle with Indiana, Bobby Perry had collected 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 stitches.
"He had a triple-double," Wildcats coach Tubby Smith joked about his forward, who had to leave late in the game with a gash above his eyebrow.Although the Wildcats and Hoosiers came into the game unranked, don't tell the players this game -- the 50th overall between the programs -- has lost its luster. Kentucky survived the physical -- and, in Perry's case, bloody -- defensive struggle with a 59-54 victory."I think the weight has definitely been taken off our shoulders," Kentucky center Randolph Morris, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, said. "It feels good to win a close game against a very solid team and one of our rivals. It was definitely a statement for us to pull out a close one under pressure."With the Wildcats (6-3) ahead 47-41, Roderick Wilmont nailed consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game. Before that, the teams were a combined 3-for-29 from beyond the arc.Morris quickly answered with his signature turnaround jumper at the 6-minute mark and converted the three-point play after drawing a foul from D.J. White."Randolph is developing that mentality -- `Get it to me, and I'll put it in," Smith said.White, who finished with 23 points, hit a layup two minutes later that pulled the Hoosiers (5-3) within two, but jumpers by Joe Crawford and Perry put Kentucky up 57-52.With less than two minutes to go, Joey Shaw of the Hoosiers stole an inbounds pass and scored to make it a one-possession game. But Indiana's Lance Stemler missed a closely guarded 3-pointer, and Jodie Meeks made two free throws with six seconds left to clinch the win."Even though we didn't' shoot well, we can step up on defense and contest shots," Crawford said. "I don't think we did that before, but we believed we could."Typically, Louisville's Freedom Hall hosts Kentucky's home games in the series, but a scheduling conflict moved it to Rupp Arena for the first time since 1988. That game was also the last in which neither the Hoosiers nor Wildcats came in ranked in the Top 25, as the traditional powers have struggled out of the gate.Kentucky, which has concentrated on defense in recent practices, held Indiana to 30 percent shooting."We defended OK, probably good enough to win," first-year Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "I thought we rebounded well enough to win. But you've got to make shots."Kentucky point guard Ramel Bradley, who had a career-high eight 3-pointers Tuesday against Chattanooga, was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc Saturday -- including two air balls.Indiana's tough defense and Kentucky's poor shooting allowed the Hoosiers to build a seven-point lead midway through the first half, silencing the crowd.But Kentucky quickly found a high-percentage shot: the dunk. A thundering one by Morris woke up the building.Amid the noise the Hoosiers, who had only one turnover to that point, committed four in the next two minutes, allowing the Wildcats to go ahead in one of 14 lead changes in the game.Derrick Jasper followed Morris' theatrics with a steal and dunk on Kentucky's next trip down court, and fellow freshman Perry Stevenson added another dunk a few possessions later.White had a dunk at the halftime buzzer to pull Indiana within 28-26.