Well that was fun to watch.
Kentucky poured it on against Texas A&M, and for one of the first times all year, they defended just as well as they scored (if not better). Considering this was an in-conference opponent, it may have been their best defensive performance of the year.
They dominated the Aggies, winning 100-58 in a game that was the exact opposite of Kentucky’s matchups with A&M last year.
Here are three takeaways from the win.
Camp Cal worked wonders
The famous (or infamous) “Camp Cal” took place over winter break. It featured hardcore practices, including daily defensive work. Calipari talked about that extra work a lot, and now we’re seeing why.
These Cats were struggling mightily on the defensive end early in the year, but it looks like Camp Cal has gotten this team into shape defensively. The Wildcats allowed just 27 first half points on just 38.5% shooting.
They also forced an astounding 15 A&M turnovers in the first half, and got out in transition to score off of those turnovers. They continued that defensive dominance, holding A&M to 58 points and forcing 25 turnovers over the entire game. The defense was as lockdown as it’s been.
If you’re not 100 percent convinced that Camp Cal has worked wonders defensively, watch Bam Adebayo swipe a guard and run the fast break.
Bam Adebayo showing off all kinds of silly athleticism on this sequence. #BBN pic.twitter.com/DWMBkCrJej— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 4, 2017
Isaiah Briscoe hit THREE threes
Yes, you read that right. Briscoe went 3-3 from three-point range. It’s great to see, because the only thing Briscoe has lacked is a jumper. He can defend, rebound, pass, lead the offense, be the coach on the floor, slash into the lane, and make free throws.
His game features everything but the kitchen sink, and the kitchen sink is his jump shot. After hearing about his jump shot development this preseason, we finally saw some serious progress tonight.
If he can hit that shot consistently in the future, he’ll be unstoppable. He finished with 13 points tonight.
Isaiah Briscoe now a perfect 3-3 from 3 point range tonight. #BBN pic.twitter.com/c4KlGUsd0y— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 4, 2017
Injuries can’t stop Malik Monk
Monk suffered some bump and bruises in the first half.
Malik Monk takes a shoulder to the jaw. #BBN pic.twitter.com/l8PBFAieuk— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 4, 2017
Malik Monk having a rough half injury wise. #BBN pic.twitter.com/Nw0cAVzHDz— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 4, 2017
He had to leave the game, but came back and did what Malik Monk does best. He went 8-11 from the field, 5-7 from the three-point line, and scored 26 points, which led all scorers. Even when he gets hurt, he still has the ability to explode and change the game single-handedly.