By LARRY VAUGHT
When it looked like Kentucky’s lead at Alabama might slip away, the Cats got a huge offensive boost from an unexpected source — sophomore Isaiah Briscoe.
He scored seven straight points late in the game to help UK hold off Alabama 67-58 and keep a share of the top spot in the Southeastern Conference.
“He’s our team leader and our go-to guy, definitely, for big buckets at the end. Him and Malik (Monk), they’re able to be clutch enough to hit those shots. Those two players want the ball in those moments and that’s what makes them really (good),” Hawkins said.
Briscoe, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds, said coach John Calipari trusts him late in games.
“I take care of the ball. I don’t turn it over or anything like that. They were leaving me open and I was taking what they were giving me and I was able to make big plays down at the end,” Briscoe said. “The game didn’t go in our favor the whole game, but like Coach said, 40 minutes of fight and just playing basketball. Don’t worry about the results, but anyway we won. So that’s a good thing.”
Briscoe said he didn’t do anything different late in the game.
“I’m out there playing basketball and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Next play.’ I know my free throws were terrible today, but I just kept on playing. I didn’t let it bother me and I was able to make big plays down at the end,” Briscoe said.
He kept emphasizing defense to his teammates.
“With this team, I really don’t worry about offense because we’re so talented. Everybody can score. Everybody can get it off the dribble. It’s just focusing on defense and talking and being able up to come up with consecutive stops,” Briscoe said. “I think that that’s big for us because on offense I think we’ll score. Transition and things like that. But I’m mainly just talking about defense and trying to get everybody to buy into defense.”