LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Hamido Diallo scored 16 points and No. 5 Kentucky held off Vermont 73-69 on Sunday.
The Wildcats, playing their second game in three days to open the season, missed seven of their last eight field goals and held off a late surge by the Catamounts. Trailing 72-69, Vermont missed two 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds. Washington made one of two free throws with less than a second left for the final margin.
The Wildcats (2-0) will take on the Jayhawks (1-0) in the Champions Classic on Tuesday night in Chicago. Kansas opened the season with a 92-56 rout of Tennessee State Friday night. The Wildcats defeated Utah Valley 73-63 Friday night in their season opener.
Kentucky trailed by 12 in a season-opening win over Utah Valley in the first half, but the Wildcats got off to a better start against the Catamounts and made five of their first nine shots and never trailed after Vermont scored the first basket of the contest.
Diallo led the Wildcats with 18 points in the opener and picked off where he left off against the Catamounts. Diallo finished with 16 points and scored 13 of those in the first half. Diallo's 3-pointer, Kentucky's first of the contest, gave the Wildcats a 36-24 lead at the break.
P.J. Washington led Kentucky with a career-high 16 points. Washington scored nine points in the first half. Washington and Diallo combined for nine of Kentucky's 14 field goals in the opening half. Quade Green had 15 and Kevin Knox finished with 11.
Vermont, which finished 29-6 last season and hadn't lost a regular-season game since an 81-69 setback to Butler last December, was led by Trae Bell-Haynes with 16 points. Anthony Lamb scored 15, Drew Urquhart had 13 and Ernie Duncan added 10.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the starting point guard in the season opener, but Quade Green started in place of Gilgeous-Alexander and finished with four points. ... Green led the team with four assists and scored five straight at one point in the second half.
Vermont fell to 0-15 against Southeastern Conference teams. Overall, the Catamounts are 0-3 against Florida, 0-2 against Georgia and Vanderbilt. Kentucky was Vermont's first contest against a ranked opponent since 2006. The Catamounts won 21 straight games last season before dropping an 80-70 setback to Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky: The Wildcats take on No. 4 Kansas in the Champions Classic on Tuesday.
Vermont: The Catamounts take on Bradley in the Islands of Bahamas Classic on Friday.
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