NEW YORK (AP) — Hamidou Diallo scored a season-high 23 points and No. 8 Kentucky beat Monmouth 93-76 Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Kentucky (8-1) won its sixth in a row. PJ Washington added 20 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander chipped in 15 and Nick Richards had 10.
Monmouth (3-7) has lost three straight. Deion Hammond led the Hawks with 19 and Micah Seaborn had 18.
Diallo, in his first season, helped the Wildcats take a 54-31 halftime lead.
With the outcome essentially decided, Kentucky continued attacking in the second half and extended its lead to 29. In one sequence, Wildcats center Richards dunked, then Diallo forced Sam Ibiezugbe to miss a layup before bringing the ball downcourt and knocking down a jumper.
Later, Wenyen Gabriel followed up Kevin Knox’s missed straightaway 3 with a two-handed putback jam.
Among those in attendance for the first-ever meeting between the programs were New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and newly hired manager Aaron Boone. The duo sat courtside, next to NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.
Kentucky: Coach John Calipari has bemoaned his Wildcats’ maturity in the early portion of the 2017-18 season. And while his team has begun the early portion of the season with eight wins in nine games, Kentucky has shown flaws SEC rivals can exploit. To wit: The Wildcats committed 19 turnovers against an overmatched Monmouth squad.
Monmouth: Committed 15 turnovers while shooting just 37.1 percent from the field and 34.5 from 3.
Kentucky: Among the criticisms of Calipari’s teams has been their inability to convert free throws. The Wildcats began this game ranked 265th in the nation with a .668 success rate from the foul stripe. But against Monmouth, Kentucky made 24 of 32 from the line, a 75 percent clip.
Monmouth: Hawks coach King Rice used 14 players in the game. Micah Seaborn and Austin Tilghman led Monmouth with 32 minutes each.
Kentucky: Hosts Virginia Tech next Saturday.
Monmouth: Plays at Princeton on Tuesday night.