Kentucky coach John Calipari knew the hangover was coming. And he knew he couldn't stop it.
Rather than scream after the third-ranked Wildcats slogged through the first 20 minutes against Long Beach State less than 48 hours after celebrating the program's 2,000th win, Calipari simply challenged his players to shake it off.
"I've done this so long, there are certain things that you can expect," he said.
The letdown lasted for only a half.
The Wildcats (13-0) took control late for a gritty if not exactly pretty 86-73 win yesterday in Lexington, Ky., wearing down the 49ers in the second half to continue the team's best start in more than 30 years.
Long Beach State (6-6) pulled to within 58-55 with just over 11 minutes remaining before Kentucky finally asserted itself behind freshman stars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
Wall finished with 19 points, while Cousins shook off early foul trouble to score 15 points and grab 10 rebounds in his sixth double-double of the season.
The 49ers were playing their second game in just over 36 hours, having taken the red-eye Monday night after an 85-80 overtime loss to Loyola Marymount.
West Virginia 76, Mississippi 66 - Wellington Smith scored 17 of his career-high 19 points in the second half, propelling sixth-ranked West Virginia (9-0) past 15th-ranked Mississippi (10-2) in Morgantown, W. Va.
West Virginia outrebounded Mississippi by 52-33 and was 7 for 10 on three-pointers in the second half.
Georgetown 86, Harvard 70 - Chris Wright scored a career high of 34 points, and 14th-ranked Georgetown (9-1) used an 11-0 run at the end of the first half to break open a tight game against Harvard (7-3) in Washington.
Tennessee 99, North Carolina A&T 78 - Tyler Smith and Kenny Hall both had 16 points, and 16th-ranked Tennessee (9-2) scored the first 22 of the game while routing North Carolina A&T (4-8) in Knoxville, Tenn.