In a highly-anticipate matchup between the second ranked Kentucky Wildcats and the twelfth ranked Michigan State Spartans, the Wildcats proved their dominance with a 69-48 win. The win solidified Kentucky’s elite guard play as the Wildcats improved to 3-0 on the year.
After being overshadowed by point guards Isaiah Briscoe and De’Aaron Fox in the first two games, Kentucky guard Malik Monk found his shot with four threes and a long two in the first half. After leading all scorers with 14 points, Monk scored nine more in the second half to finish with 23 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe also broke the 20-point mark, scoring 21 and adding five rebounds. Briscoe closed out the first half with a buzzer beating layup to take an eight point halftime lead.
Compared to Monk and Briscoe, Fox wasn't as efficient scoring the ball on Tuesday night. However, the 6’3 point guard managed 12 points with five assists four rebounds and two steals.
The Kentucky guards continued to shine for head coach John Calipari, combining for 56 of Kentucky’s 69 points while adding 15 rebounds and six assists.
On the interior, high talent Edrice “Bam” Adebayo faced another rough outing with four fouls and as many turnovers. The big man managed just six points and five rebounds.
Due to Bam’s foul trouble, fellow freshman Wenyen Gabriel saw increased playing time. The 6’9 forward totaled four points, six rebounds, four steals and a block.
Sharp-shooting senior Derek Willis was held scoreless, missing the only shot he took.
Kentucky as a team held Michigan State to just 32% shooting from the field and a mere 19% from behind the 3-point line. Their defense didn't just contest shots, as they forced 21 turnovers by the Spartans too.
Kentucky definitely made a statement taking down a top-12 team in the country, coached by one of the best coaches in the history of the sport. They’ll have a five day break until their next game, which will be played at Rupp Arena Sunday night. Tip-off is set for 9 P.M. and will be aired on ESPNU.
Here are the postgame notes from UK’s win, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 3-0. Michigan State is 0-2.
- ·Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Michigan State, 13-11.
- · Kentucky has a 4-2 record in the six-year history of the Champions Classic, 1-1 vs. Michigan State, 2-0 v. Kansas, 1-1 vs. Duke.
- UK has an all-time record of 36-13 in Madison Square Garden, including 24-10 in the original building and 12-3 in the current arena. UK is 2-0 in Champions Classic games in MSG, also played here in the 2011 event.
In the First Half
- Kentucky has started the lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk, Derek Willis and Bam Adebayo in all three games this season.
- Malik Monk made a 3-pointer at the 16:04 mark, extending Kentucky’s streak of 978 games with at least one 3-pointer, the longest streak in the nation.
- Monk’s first long ball was a harbinger of things to come. Tied at 12, his third 3-pointer of the half ignited a 14-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 26-14 lead they did not relinquish.
- Michigan State got as close as four but Kentucky lengthened the gap to 34-26 going into intermission. Monk led the Cats with 14 in the opening frame and Briscoe added 10.
In the Second Half
- Michigan State opened the second half with a 3-pointer but the Spartans got no closer.
- Kentucky steadily added to its advantage, leading by as many as 23 points at 67-44.
- The Wildcats closed out with a 69-48 win.
- Kentucky limited Michigan State to 48 points. No Spartan reached double figures in scoring.
- UK is 64-0 under Coach John Calipari when limiting the opponents to 55 points or fewer.
- UK is 134-5 under Calipari when limiting the opponents to 63 points or fewer.
- Kentucky blocked eight shots tonight. The Wildcats have at least seven rejections in all three games this season.
- Kentucky forced 20 turnovers and won points off turnovers 24-12.
- Kentucky made 16-of-20 at the foul line. The 80 percent mark is the Wildcats’ best of the young season.
- This is the second-straight game that the Wildcats have had a pair of 20-point scorers.
- Coach John Calipari has a 665-187 (.781) on-court record, including a 220-47 (.824) mark at UK.
- Freshman Malik Monk led all scorers with 23 points, sinking 7-of-11 on 3-point shots.
- Monk is the third freshman in school history to make at least seven 3-pointers in a regular-season non-conference game, also Doron Lamb and Jamal Murray.
- Monk also tied Wenyen Gabriel as the top Wildcat rebounder with six boards.
- Monk has scored double figures in all three games this season.
- Isaiah Briscoe totaled 21 points, including 5-of-5 at the foul line.
- Briscoe has scored at least 17 points in all three games, featuring 21 the last two games.
- Freshman De’Aaron Fox had 12 points, his third-straight game in double figures.
- He made 6-of-6 foul shots and has made all 21 of his free throw attempts this season.
- Fox had a game-high six assists and has led the Wildcats in assists all three games.
And here are UK’s updated season stats: