It was a tale of two halves for the Kentucky Wildcats in their 99-76 win over the Ole Miss Rebels. The Wildcats had one of their best first halves of the year, as they scored 60 points and held Ole Miss to just 39 points despite a breakneck pace (as usual). Malik Monk put up over 20 points in the first half, Isaiah Briscoe stuffed the stat sheet, Wenyen Gabriel blocked shots, Bam Adebayo threw down dunks, etc. Essentially, everything was going right for Kentucky in the first half. In the second half, everything changed. Sure, they still dominated the final score, but they only outscored Ole Miss by two points (39-37) in the second half. Aside from a good run at the end of the game, the second half was ugly for Kentucky. Regardless, Kentucky showed that there’s not as much to worry about as some thought when they lost to Louisville. For most of the game, they looked like the same Kentucky team that beat North Carolina and Michigan State.
Here are three things to know.
Tai Wynyard got in awfully early
Less than 10 minutes into the game, Wynyard came in off the bench. It’s rather unusual to see him out there so early. Kentucky head coach John Calipari said before the game he might give Wynyard a look early on.
On the pregame show, John Calipari says he may give Tai Wynyard an early look off the bench tonight vs. Ole Miss.— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) December 30, 2016
Perhaps this was in an effort to combat the issue Kentucky has had with versatile forwards at the three and four positions. Wynyard unfortunately didn’t do a lot in the time he had, as the only statistic he logged was 1 personal foul.
Malik Monk embarrassed the entire Ole Miss defense at once
That move left me speechless. The fact that he finished the shot for the and-one opportunity was icing on the cake. And it wasn’t the only and-one Monk had.
Monk had an outstanding game. He eclipsed the 20-point mark in the first half, and finished with 34 points total. It’s safe to say that he’s right back to his high-scoring ways after his struggles against Louisville.
Isaiah Briscoe recorded a triple-double
Briscoe had one of his best career games, recording a triple-double with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Some of his assists were instant highlight reel material, as he was feeding Bam Adebayo for some huge dunks all night long.
Briscoe is the anchor on this team, providing value that goes far beyond the stat sheet. But today, his contribution showed up big time in the stat sheet as he recorded the third triple-double in Kentucky history (and second this year).