LEXINGTON, Ky. — Sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo had 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to lead No. 9 Kentucky past South Dakota State 71-54 on Sunday night in the first round of the Guardians Classic.
Rekalin Sims added 11 points for the Wildcats (1-0), who will play Lipscomb — a 72-60 winner over Northern Colorado — on Monday night in the second round. The winner will advance to the tournament's semifinals Nov. 21 in Kansas City, Mo.
The Wildcats missed their first eight shots, including air balls by Rondo and Joe Crawford. But South Dakota State (0-1), given an opportunity to open a lead, committed four turnovers and went 1-of-4 from the field during that early stretch. By the 11:54 mark, the Jackrabbits had missed 16 of 17 shots and trailed 14-2.
Kentucky led 37-24 at halftime and its largest lead was 51-30 with 16:02 left.
Junior forward Ben Beran led the Jackrabbits with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting.
NO. 14 WEST VIRGINIA 61, WOFFORD 41: At Morgantown, W.Va., Kevin Pittsnogle scored 19 points to lead West Virginia to a berth in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic.
The Mountaineers trailed 24-19 at halftime but scored the first 13 points of the second half. That was part of a 23-2 run spanning both halves that put West Virginia ahead 40-26 with 12:15 left.
Wofford (1-1) trailed 45-28 with 10 minutes left and never got within 16 points again.
West Virginia (2-0) plays the winner of the regional hosted by No. 2 Texas in a semifinal in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 21.
Eric Marshall had 11 points for Wofford.