What. A. Finish.
It was one of the ugliest first halves I’ve ever seen, but it was one of the most exciting finishes of the tournament thus far.
The Cats put a huge performance together late, with a huge three from Malik Monk, some big scores from De’Aaron Fox, and two huge blocks from Monk and Bam Adebayo.
Here are four things to know from Kentucky’s HUGE 65-62 win over the Wichita State Shockers.
What an ugly start
8 1⁄2 minutes into the game, it was 8-6 Kentucky; Wichita State had shot 2/14 and Kentucky had shot 4/12. It was just an ugly game for both teams in all aspects at the start.
At the two-minute mark in the first half, the two teams were a combined 18-57. That’s less than 32% shooting. Neither team reached the bonus in fouls in the first half, and neither team reached 30 points in the first half.
It was ugly, it was weird, and there weren’t many fouls called. Luckily, the pace picked up just a bit as the game wore on, and the Cats used that to their advantage.
Hawkins was the glue guy
As has been the case before this year, Dominique Hawkins kept the team together when everything was going wrong. He made his first three shots, one of which was a three-pointer, for seven points.
Dominique Hawkins. Nothing left to say at this point. pic.twitter.com/yq4Yg1G4hm— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 19, 2017
He didn’t have a big role in the second half, but he carried some of the load until the freshmen woke up.
Adebayo woke up in the second half
Bam Adebayo had just two points in the first half, but turned it around in the second, getting a double-double with around 6:30 left in the game. He scored 11 points in the second half to finish with 13, and also had 10 rebounds. He also had this huge block to seal the deal.
I take it back, THIS is the biggest block of the season by Bam Adebayo. Goodness. pic.twitter.com/Dshrfk12Ue— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 19, 2017
Was there a good chance that was going in? No. But it’s March, and that kind of thing happens a lot this time of year. It was definitely best for Adebayo to slam the door shut with a season-saving block. His biggest of the year, no doubt.
Malik Monk is the definition of clutch
Monk struggled early on in the game, going just 3-10 for the day. But he closed out with an incredible performance. Monk buried this three to pull the Cats away just enough.
My God, Malik Monk buries a huge 3. pic.twitter.com/PZm8JbiObK— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 19, 2017
As if that wasn’t enough, the star guard put up the (second) biggest block of the night on Wichita State’s second-to-last possession.
The courage it took to block this shot without fouling by Malik Monk. Wow. pic.twitter.com/EwpgKMfEoO— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 19, 2017
How he defended without fouling is beyond me, but the same goes for Adebayo’s block.