Monk, Briscoe lead UK beatdown of Michigan State


Michigan State coach Tom Izzo — and probably a lot of other college basketball coaches — wanted to see if Kentucky could make outside shots.

Well, Izzo and others, including about 100 NBA scouts, learned one thing Tuesday night when UK beat Michigan State 69-48 in the Champions Classic in New York’s Madison Square Garden. On a given night, freshman Malik Monk can make a bunch of them.

He was only 3-for-12 from 3-point range in UK’s first two games but he made SEVEN three-pointers, including four in the first half, and finished with a career-high 23 points. He was 8-for-17 overall from the field.

Teammate Isaiah Briscoe again provided the inside scoring as he’s powered his way through State’s defense to score 21 points on 8-for-18 shooting along with five rebounds, one steal and one assist.

Kentucky got up 12 points early and then slacked off a bit to lead just 34-26 at halftime when Monk and Briscoe combined for 24 points.

The second half, though, was all UK as Michigan State — which was without two injured players and was playing after losing to Arizona in Hawaii on Friday — seemed to wear down against UK’s speed and length.

The Cats pushed the lead to 59-38 midway of the second half as point guard De’Aaron Fox kept pushing the offense. Kentucky had that lead despite shooting under 40 percent overall from the field at the time and getting outrebounded by the Spartans.

Fox was just 3-for-10 from the field, but he went 6-for-6 at the foul line and has now made 21 free throws he’s shot this year. He had five assists, four rebounds, one steal and one block.

Bam Adebayo had six points, five rebounds and three blocks. Wenyen Gabriel came off the bench to grab six rebounds, score six points, make four steals and block one shot.

Kentucky finished the game shooting 38 percent overall and was 7-for-22 from 3-point range compared to 5-for-26 for the Spartans. At the foul line, UK made 16 of 20 shots and State just 3-for-9. Kentucky got outrebounded 41-36 and had 14 turnovers.
But the number that mattered most is that Kentucky not only won, but won in a big, big fashion in its first major test of the season.


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  1. There is a lot to like with any victory but also a lot not to like about the quality of play. How do we let another smaller, undermanned team outrebound us. How do the 3 bigs only score 6 pts.? Here is how….Willis should not have started the 2nd half and should not be starting next game. He didn’t even look for a shot, had no defense and satisfied with just walking around. Humphries did not show the improvement we heard about. He did not have good hands, looked like he was wearing concrete shoes and did not score a point. Bam was a non factor as well. He did not want to mix it up in the middle let alone try to score. He had 6 have got to be kidding. We came down and shot too fast first half, and we continue to show that we can’t feed the middle. There were 14 turnovers as well. Hope Cal kicks some butt with the bigs because we do not need that attitude let alone the attitude of “oh well we only have to show up to win” Kudos to Briscoe, Monk and Fox for giving us this win.

  2. Mike, defense wins games regardless what we didn’t or did on offenses and you never mention about our defense what so ever. You think too much one sided but don’t think the other side that win games.Mister know it all!!;

  3. Mike , I’m setting here watching the Duke and Kansas game I see some down size and up size that either one of them can beat us or our cats can handle them. Your judgement is WAY too early to be calling negative points.

    1. Cats79…I am not sure if it was their bad shooting or our good defense. Frankly, I don’t think our defense has been all that hot for out length and athleticism We have given up a lot of baskets at the rim and keep getting out rebounded for smaller teams. There are no positives when 2 of the 3 bigs go scoreless and the stud has only 6. I think Tai deserved more PT and also Mulder. At least Tai shows energy and seems to make the most of his talent.

  4. That’s the problem you don’t give credit were it’s due Mike!.

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