NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Doron Lamb scored 12 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 11 to lead Kentucky to a 41-27 lead at halftime of Monday night's NCAA championship game.
The Wildcats had one of the biggest halftime leads in title game history. North Carolina had a 21-point lead over Michigan State in 2009.
Kentucky is chasing its eighth national championship, second only to UCLA's 11, and its first since 1998. That year the Wildcats set the record for largest halftime deficit overcome, rallying from a 41-31 deficit to beat Utah 78-69.
The Wildcats shot 53.3 percent from the field (16 of 30), while holding the Jayhawks to 33.3 percent shooting (11 of 33). Kentucky led the nation this season in field goal percentage defense (37.4).
The matchup of the two winningest programs in NCAA history started close, but Kentucky pulled away in a hurry.
The Wildcats took the lead for good at 9-7 on a follow shot by Kidd-Gilchrist. After a basket by Tayshawn Taylor of Kansas, Kentucky went on a 6-0 run that was capped by two free throws by Lamb with 13:39 to play.
Kansas couldn't get a basket inside as the Wildcats blocked five shots, three by 6-foot-10 freshman Anthony Davis, who entered the game leading the nation with 180.
The lead reached 18 points twice, the second time at 41-23 with 1:04 left on a drive by Kidd-Gilchrist.
Baskets by Thomas Robinson and Taylor in the final minute allowed Kansas to close the deficit to 41-27.
Robinson and Taylor both had eight points for the Jayhawks, but Robinson got his on 3-for-11 shooting.
A win would give Kentucky 38 this season, tying Memphis in 2008 for the record. That team was coached by current Wildcats coach John Calipari and its season ended in the national championship game with an overtime loss to Kansas.
These teams met on Nov. 15 at Madison Square Garden, a 75-65 Kentucky victory that was tied 28-28 at halftime.