Kentucky jumped out to a ten-point lead in the opening minutes against Ole Miss and never looked back, knocking off the Rebels 99-76. Though the vast majority of the team performed at a high level, the star of the show was Isaiah Briscoe, leading the way with the team’s second triple-double of the year. There were times the game got a bit sloppy, but the victory was never in question.
Let’s get to the headlines:
Briscoe messed around and got a triple-double
This one won’t need to be reviewed, as Briscoe finished the game with 19 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, just the third triple-double in program history. What a freaking performance from the sophomore out of Jersey. He was able to score the ball fairly well, but let’s take a minute to appreciate one specific statistic: Briscoe finished the day 6-6 from the free throw line, and it honestly didn’t feel out of the norm. He’s converting at the line at an extremely high level this year, shooting 70%, compared to a disgusting 46% last season. Music to NBA scouts’ ears…
But back to the big feat, Briscoe deciding to unleash his inner Russell Westbrook. Just think about how remarkable that is… Two triple doubles in the last seven games, despite just one in over 100 years at UK. Derek Willis threw a free throw to the left side of the rim, landing the rock in Briscoe’s hands to secure the historical feat. For good measure, Malik Monk hit another three off a Briscoe pass, giving him 11 assists on the day. On that note..
Malik Monk was blazing hot…again.
Briscoe got the majority of credit for the triple-double, but Malik Monk lit up the stat sheet yet again, dropping 34 points on 11-16 shooting. He was off to a hot start, scoring 24 points at halftime, and finished out the game strong as well. He was a ridiculous 5-7 from three, bringing his average on the year up to 40% from deep. Monk has finished with over 10 points in every game this season, and is averaging nearly 30 points per game in his last four contests.
This play in particular quite possibly shook the entire college basketball world:
Oh my, Malik Monk. pic.twitter.com/EmvPBneYi8
– Jordan Wells (@JWellsTH) December 30, 2016
That kid is nasty. Enjoy him now, because this dude is going to be taking the NBA by storm next year.
Bam Adebayo dominated in the post
Bam was fed the rock against Louisville, and the big man out of North Carolina converted on nearly every opportunity handed to him. Tonight was much of the same, as he managed to dominate when the offense went through him, scoring 25 points on 12-19 shooting.
It’s such a relief seeing Bam’s offense progressing each game. There were times when it seemed he couldn’t buy a bucket that wasn’t a dunk or a layup (he even missed those, sometimes), but now he’s using his strength to his advantage and bullying folks at the rim.
On that note, if you paid attention on the live blog, you noticed we came up with a nickname for Bam when he played soft: Pebbles.
Bam should be able to dunk on people every time he gets to the rim, the weak stuff is inexecusable. No more Pebbles, we only want to see Bam the rest of the year.
De’Aaron Fox had a rough outing
He started out the gate on fire, but finished as cold as ice, scoring just seven points on 3-10 shooting. I’m not sure what it was, but Fox never seemed to find his groove, playing sloppy and giving up some easy plays on defense.
The most irritating aspect of his performance, though? The flipping long jumpers. Please, whatever you do, stop shooting the ball two feet inside the three-point line. Briscoe did it last year and we hated it, but Fox is doing at an unreal rate. It’s got to stop. Stop. Shooting. That. Shot.
Hopefully he bounces back against Texas A&M on Tuesday.
Overall, Kentucky played extremely well, especially in a hostile environment in the debut of a new arena. Andy Kennedy has put up some impressive performances against the Wildcats in his time at Ole Miss, but this one was definitely not an example of that. UK led almost the entire way, and never looked in trouble at any point.
UK moves to 11-2 on the year following the victory, and starts out conference play at 1-0.
The Wildcats will take on the Aggies of Texas A&M at home next Tuesday at 9:00 PM on ESPN.
Oh yeah, and #BeatGeorgiaTech.