Fresh off a national title in football, the Alabama men’s basketball team used its own version of the run-and-shoot offense on Tuesday night, running Kentucky’s defense ragged as the Crimson Tide rolled to a 85-65 win over the Wildcats at Rupp Arena.
Alabama’s high tempo offense, ranked the fifth-fastest in the nation at 14.2 seconds per possession, kept the Wildcats on its heels all night as the Crimson Tide connected on 14 of 30 three point attempts. Alabama last won at Rupp Arena in 2006.
Once again, the Kentucky half-court offense was stuck in gear, going almost six minutes without a field goal in the opening frame to trail 42-30 at halftime.
After winning three straight to open conference play, Kentucky’s offensive simply ran out of steam as shooting woes continued throughout the lineup. In the end, Alabama was just too much for the Cats, who shot just 21-of-61 (34.4%) from the field and 4-of-18 (22.2%) from behind the three-point arc.
The lone bright spot was the play of Devin Askew and Keion Brooks, who scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. After not scoring a field goal in the first half, Isaiah Jackson lead UK in scoring with 14 points and also had seven blocks.
Kentucky, 4-7 (3-1 in the SEC) now travels to Auburn on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. ET clash with the Tigers on ESPN.
The good news is that Devin Askew is finally coming into his own, playing one of his best games of the year in the loss.
After struggling early in the season, Askew is quickly gaining confidence with each game, hitting open shots, rebounding, chasing down loose balls and making good decisions in transition. As such, Askew gets the MVP nod on Tuesday night.
In the second half, Askew’s four-point play (a made three-pointer and free throw) gave the Wildcats some brief momentum, cutting the lead to 67-53 with 6:08 remaining before Alabama closed the door on the victory.
Brooks, coming off a big opening game at Florida, battled his way to 10 points and four rebounds, but center Olivier Sarr was held to just six points and was never a real factor against a physical Alabama interior defense.
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