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Kentucky Basketball: Three things to know from the win over North Carolina

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Malik Monk erupted, and the Cats got the close win. Here’s what you need to know.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Kentucky Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

What. A. Game. We just saw perhaps the regular season game of the year, and it’s only December. It featured two blue blood programs, a breakneck pace, lots of scoring, and two great basketball teams.

In the end, Kentucky’s guard play made the difference. Considering this was a December game, it was one for the ages, and one that BBN won’t forget anytime soon.

Seriously, the ending to this game is right up there with Anthony Davis’ blocked shot against North Carolina just a few years ago.

Here are three things to know about this thriller.

It was all about pace

We knew it was going to be fast-paced, but this was one of the fastest-paced games you’ll ever see. The first half score was evidence of that, as both teams were over 50 points, and both teams were shooting over 50% from the field early on.

We saw alley-oops, blocked shots, and-ones, and pretty much any transition play you could imagine. It felt like this entire game was played in transition. Both teams hit the 100-point mark in the end. It was like a full NBA game crammed into 40 minutes.

Malik Monk was as hot as it gets

Monk had his career-high in points before the first half even ended, as he put up 27 in the first half. He shot 62.5% from the field in the first half, and had the team on his back. He didn’t slow down in the second half, as he finished with 47 points, and made by far the biggest shot of the game. It was the most points by a Wildcat ever scored against a top-10 team. He also had 8 total threes, a career-high.

He’s got ice in his veins!

What’s incredible is Monk’s performance overshadowed De’Aaron Fox, who recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 assists. Fox also had perhaps the defensive play of the game when he intercepted the inbound pass with 1.4 seconds to play.

Kentucky’s win puts them back in the 1 seed conversation

The Cats were considered more of a two seed than a one seed after losing at home to UCLA, but this win against No. 7 North Carolina, especially in a close game that felt like a tournament game, should at least put Kentucky right back in the discussion for a No. 1 seed.

It’s early, but staying consistently in that conversation is important for this team.