LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Rajon Rondo had 13 points and Rekalin Sims broke out of a shooting slump to add 11 as No. 19 Kentucky held off Iona 73-67 on Friday night in its annual home game at Freedom Hall.
The Wildcats (8-3) never trailed, although the Gaels (7-1) played them far tougher than No. 11 Louisville - the court's usual tenant - did in getting blown out last Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
If that game proved the guard-heavy Kentucky lineup can score inside, this one provided more evidence.
It marked the re-emergence of Sims, a reserve who was 5-of-8 from the field after being limited to five points over his previous three games. Earlier this week, the junior college transfer acknowledged his shooting has struggled since his dropoff in playing time.
Kentucky is 116-31 all-time in Louisville, including victories in its last 16 games there against teams other than the Cardinals.
Steve Burtt had 23 points for Iona, which cut the lead to three with just over a minute left. But Kentucky guard Patrick Sparks hit a 3-pointer - his only field goal of the game. Sparks had a season-high eight assists and a game-high seven rebounds.
With the game tied 4-4, Kentucky went on an 8-0 run. The Gaels cut the lead to 14-11 on consecutive 3-pointers - including a four-point play by Marvin McCullough - but they would get no closer.
Burtt, who came into the game as the nation's No. 3 scorer, scored 21 points in the second half. He missed seven of eight shots in the first half and spent much of the opening 20 minutes on the bench after picking up two quick fouls.
Kentucky is 6-0 against Iona and 11-0 against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.