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UK Basketball vs. Monmouth: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Cats had a lot of highs, but some of their lows must be fixed to beat better teams.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky vs Monmouth-NJ Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats improved to 8-1 on the season with a 93-76 victory over Monmouth Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The #8 Wildcats were never really challenged by the Hawks (3-7), leading by as many as 29 points in the second half. UK improved to 7-1 in games in the Big Apple under coach John Calipari.

Let’s sum up the performance with a little ditty I call the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

  • Scoring the ball- The Cats got career highs from Hamidou Diallo (23), PJ Washington (20) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (15).
  • Rebounding- The Cats outrebounded the Hawks 47-33. This marks the 8th consecutive game UK has won the battle on the glass.
  • Getting defensive - Monmouth was held to 37% shooting on 26/70 from the field.
  • UK is 222-4 under Calipari when the Cats lead in a game by 10+ points.
  • The Cats had the edge in fast-break points (15-11). They have had the edge in that stat in every game this year.
  • The Cats forced 15 Monmouth turnovers, one of the best outings this season in that regard.
  • Did you know - The Wildcats have made a 3-pointer in 1,022 games consecutively. UK’s record during this streak - 791-231.

The Bad

  • The injury front- PG Quade Green suffered an eye injury midway through the second half. He did not return to action. Sacha Killeya-Jones also sat this game out with an ankle injury.
  • A little foul trouble - C Nick Richards was saddled with foul trouble in the first half. However, Richards rebounded nicely, posting 10 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.
  • Kevin Knox had his worst game as a Cat with just four points on 1-of-9 shooting. He also committed seven turnovers, so he was a negative in this game. If that happens against better teams, don’t expect UK to win them.
  • While UK’s defense played well, they still allowed Monmouth to hit 10 3-pointers. Virginia Tech and UCLA like to shoot lots of 3s, so UK must ramp up the perimeter defense to win those games.

The Ugly

  • UK didn’t finish strong and allowed Monmouth to score 45 points in the second half. UK was actually outscored 45-39 in the second half.
  • Diallo shot just 6-of-10 from the free-throw stripe. He has to get better as a starting guard who attacks the rim and draws a lot of fouls.
  • 19 turnovers. That’s going to get UK beat against just about any decent team, so this has to be cleaned up and in a hurry.

The Wildcats look to continue their winning ways next Saturday at Rupp Arena versus Virginia Tech at 2 pm. The game will be aired on ESPN2.