Kentucky slipped to No. 3 after its loss to Indiana, then bounced back with an easy win over Chattanooga despite playing most of the night without Jones, who dislocated a finger on his left hand in the first half.
Jones was injured just over 3 minutes into the game, and he would miss the next two games.
Without him, Davis dominated the low post on both ends of the floor. He finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks and had a double-double — his fourth in 10 games — by halftime with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Lamb led Kentucky with 24 points on 10 of 17 shooting. He was 4 for 9 from 3-point range, and the Wildcats hit 12 3s on 33 attempts. They opened with 13 unanswered points, and the lead never dipped into single digits.
Kentucky 82, Samford 50
Dec. 20 at Lexington
Lamb scored 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting and Miller added 17 points as the Wildcats crushed Samford after scoring the first 11 points and hitting 16 of their first 20 shots from the field. They led 45-22 at halftime and were up by as many as 34 points late in the game.
Teague scored 14 points and Kidd-Gilchrist added 10. Miller and Teague had five assists each, and Kentucky had only seven turnovers.
Kentucky announced before the game that walk-on Sam Malone had suffered a torn ligament in his left knee. Malone, who had played only 6 minutes in six games, later had surgery and missed the rest of the season.
Kentucky 87, Loyola (Md.) 63
Dec. 22 at Lexington
Wiltjer scored a career-high 24 points and Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist also had afternoons to remember in Kentucky’s win over Loyola.
Wiltjer went 7 for 11 from the field after shooting 33 percent over his previous eight games. Kidd-Gilchrist had 15 points and seven rebounds hours after learning that his mother had been hospitalized, and Davis had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Loyola was within four points early in the second half and trailed by only eight before Kidd-Gilchrist and Wiltjer sparked a 17-2 run. The Greyhounds went 5:17 without a point because of Kentucky’s throttling defense.
Kentucky 86, Lamar 64
Dec. 28 at Lexington
Kidd-Gilchrist scored 18 points and Davis had his sixth double-double in 12 games as the Wildcats routed Lamar.
The Cardinals stayed close in the first half despite shooting 28 percent from the field, but Kentucky put them away in the second half. The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field for the game and were 7 for 14 from 3-point range and 27 for 33 at the free throw line, but they also had 17 turnovers.
Miller and Teague scored 15 points each, and Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist combined for 19 of Kentucky’s 36 rebounds. Jones had nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes in his return.
Kentucky 69, Louisville 62
Dec. 31 at Lexington
Kidd-Gilchrist had season highs with 24 points and 19 rebounds to lead No. 3 Kentucky in a rough-and-tumble victory over No. 4 Louisville for its third straight win in the intrastate rivalry.
Kidd-Gilchrist relished the physical play that at times turned the game into more like a free throw shooting contest, with 52 fouls called.
Davis added 18 points — all in the second half after first-half foul problems — and had 10 rebounds and six blocks for the Wildcats, who shot a season-low 29.8 percent from the field.
Louisville rallied from an early 15-point deficit to tie the game at 40-all in the second half behind Russ Smith, who had a career-high 30 points. The Cardinals had a chance to take their first lead since 2-0, but Peyton Siva’s 18-foot jumper never hit the rim.
Kentucky went on a 7-0 run from there and led 56-48 with 6:40 left after Davis’ alley-oop slam from Lamb. Kidd-Gilchrist’s three-point play with 3:41 left gave the Wildcats a 61-50 lead.
The battles continued up to and even after the whistle, and the fouls mounted. Louisville’s Chane Behanan drew a technical foul for his reaction to a charging call early in the game, and Gorgui Dieng went to the bench with four fouls after picking up three in a span of 2:20 early in the second half. Seconds later, Calipari picked up a technical for his displeasure with the officiating.
The Wildcats committed 23 fouls and were 32 for 43 at the foul line; the Cardinals committed 29 fouls and were 18 for 27.
Kentucky 73, Arkansas-Little Rock 51
Jan. 3 at Louisville
The Wildcats, who moved up to No. 2 with their win over Louisville, overcame a slow start to win their final non-conference game.
Davis had 22 points and 16 rebounds for Kentucky, which trailed 34-31 early in the second half before outscoring UALR 23-1. The Trojans, who led 30-27 at halftime, went nearly 10 minutes between field goals.
Miller scored his 1,000th career point during that run and finished with 15 points. Jones added 10 points, and Kidd-Gilchrist had 10 rebounds.
Kentucky 79, South Carolina 64
Jan. 7 at Lexington
Jones enjoyed his best game since his finger injury three weeks earlier, scoring 20 points to lead Kentucky over South Carolina in its Southeastern Conference opener.
Teague scored 17 points, and Davis posted his fifth consecutive double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and also had seven blocks and two steals.
The Wildcats, the preseason favorite to win their 45th SEC title, closed the first half with an 11-0 run to take a 34-18 lead and led 41-21 early in the second half. The Gamecocks closed to within 12 points with 7:40 left, but Kentucky answered with an 8-0 run.
Jones went 8 for 9 from the field, his only miss coming with 40 seconds left, and Kentucky shot 59 percent overall.
Kentucky 68, Auburn 53
Jan. 11 at Auburn, Ala.
The Wildcats struggled with Auburn until a 23-6 closing run gave them their second straight 15-point victory. They shot just 40 percent from the field, were outrebounded for the second straight game and took their first double-digit lead with 1:31 remaining.
Davis, who saw his string of double-doubles end, and Lamb scored 14 points each, while Teague and Jones had 12 each. Miller went 3 for 5 from 3-point range and had nine points.
Auburn stayed close even though its leading scorers were in foul trouble and led 47-45 with 10:52 left before Kentucky gradually gained control en route to its 13th straight win over the Tigers.
The Wildcats committed just eight turnovers.
Kentucky 65, Tennessee 62
Jan. 14 at Knoxville, Tenn.
The Wildcats overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half, then held off a late run by Tennessee to equal the number of SEC road wins they had in 2011.
Davis capped an 8-0 run with a short jumper that gave Kentucky a 62-54 lead with 53 seconds to play, but 3-pointers by Skylar McBee and Cameron Tatum pulled the Volunteers within two points with 28 seconds left. After Miller hit two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist hit one in the final 20 seconds, Tatum missed a 3 that would have tied the game.
Davis had 18 points and Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Tennessee attacked on offense and locked down the lane on defense to take a 34-28 halftime lead, but Kentucky shot 50 percent in the second half and limited the Volunteers to 39.3 percent.
Kentucky 86, Arkansas 63
Jan. 17 at Lexington
Davis scored 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked seven shots, raising his season total to 87 blocks and breaking a school record.
Four others scored in double figures and Teague had nine assists for the Wildcats, who brushed aside an Arkansas team that tried to run with them. Kentucky led 28-12 when Davis blocked his 84th shot of the season with just under 5 minutes left in the first half to break the record set by Melvin Turpin in 1983 and matched by Andre Riddick in 1994.
Davis went 10 for 12 from the field and 7 for 8 from the free throw line and got a standing ovation following his seventh block.
The Wildcats led by 20 points late in the first half, and Arkansas never got closer than 14 points in the second.
Kentucky 77, Alabama 71
Jan. 21 at Lexington