LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Doron Lamb's efforts off the court are pushing him on it.
"I think I'm playing good so far, but I've got to keep it up though. I keep working hard in the gym before practice," Lamb said. "It is worth it, dog. I've just got to keeping doing what I'm doing so far, keep that up. It's paying off."
Lamb scored 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting and Darius Miller added 17 points to lead No. 3 Kentucky in an 82-50 rout over Samford on Tuesday night to extend the Wildcats' home winning streak to 41 games.
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Lamb has been coming into the gym early and working on conditioning before going out to shoot followed by practice. The sophomore guard's only letdown came when his right wrist bent back late, forcing him from the game. But he said he was fine afterward.
"He's been good," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "The extra time he's spending on that basketball court before practice, after practice, you're all seeing the benefit of it."
Kentucky (10-1) played without Terrence Jones, who missed the first game in his collegiate career after dislocating the pinky on his left, shooting hand on Saturday.
The Wildcats hardly missed a beat early against Samford (3-7) without him, scoring the first 11 points of the game, pushing the lead to 45-22 at halftime and by as many as 34 late.
Drew Windler and Tyler Hood scored 11 points apiece for the Bulldogs.
"When we came out of the tunnel with 10 minutes until the game, we were shell-shocked," Samford guard Jeffrey Merritt said. "We learned a lot."
Kentucky is in the midst of a soft spot in its schedule until its rivalry game with No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31. The Wildcats continue the stretch of lesser opponents by hosting Loyola (Md.) on Thursday and Lamar on Dec. 28.
Marquis Teague scored 14 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 10 for the Wildcats.
Kentucky was swarming from the start with an 11-0 run keyed by Lamb, who hit the first of his four 3-pointers. Miller twice hit 3s of his own to keep the Bulldogs from gaining any momentum early as the Wildcats started 16 of 20 from the field.
"I like fish better than Lamb," Samford coach Jimmy Tillette said.
One of the biggest plays early came from Anthony Davis, who scrambled on the court for a loose ball at halfcourt and flipped it from his back to Kyle Wiltjer.
Davis didn't quit on the play, and when Wiltjer missed the layup Davis was streaking in behind for a follow-up dunk, jumping over Merritt and Hood to give Kentucky a 40-20 lead late in the first half.
Davis' slam on an alley-oop pass from Teague made it 61-30 with 12:18 left in the game as the Wildcats cruised in the first meeting between the schools.
Davis finished with eight points, nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals.
Samford came in with consecutive wins over NAIA opponents, but has beaten only one Division I foe this season and lost its 10th straight against a Top 25 school since topping St. John's in 1999.
"We don't have the guys blocking shots at 6-foot-10, 6-foot-11, but it shows that we all can compete," Merritt said. "If we play for a team, you can succeed."
Jones, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, had appeared in 48 straight games before missing this one.
The 6-9 sophomore forward has had a trying two weeks after a lackluster performance in Kentucky's loss to Indiana on Dec. 10 that knocked the Wildcats out of the No. 1 spot in the rankings before hurting his hand in Saturday's victory over Chattanooga.
For the game against Samford, he wore a red plaid shirt that stood out among all the blue at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky announced before the game that walk-on freshman guard Sam Malone tore a ligament in his left knee and that there was no timetable for his return. Malone had played a total of 6 minutes over six games, but was already a fan favorite when he came at the end of big wins by the Wildcats.
"I feel bad for the kid," Calipari said. "But like I told him last night, `Life throws you curves, man. Fate intervenes in our lives at times, but you've got to deal with it and you've got to use it as a positive."'
Lamb, meanwhile, has played his best recently with 19 points at Indiana and 24 against Chattanooga before his effort against the Bulldogs built off of extra time in the gym.
"I put a lot of shots up, shooting a lot of shots when I'm tired," Lamb said. "In the game when I'm tired, I'm making shots still and working hard on defense."