Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe combined for 43 points, 11 assists and seven boards while De’Aaron Fox posted Kentucky’s first triple-double since Chris Mills in 1988 as the No. 1 Wildcats rampaged all over Arizona State in the Bahamas, 115-69.
It was a total and complete mismatch, one that I’m sure Bobby Hurley regretted scheduling five minutes into the first half. (At least he got to spend some time in the Bahamas, right?)
Anyway, it’s hard to take all that much out of this performance – it wasn’t a fair fight, more on that in a second – but there were a couple of promising signs. For starters, the Wildcats hit 11 threes as a team on a night where Malik Monk was just 3-for-10 from beyond the arc. Isaiah Briscoe hit both the threes he attempted. De’Aaron Fox hit the only three he attempted. That duo was a combined 2-for-21 from beyond the arc on the season heading into Monday night.
And, frankly, it was good to see Isaiah Briscoe out on the floor. He had missed some two games as he worked through a back injury he suffered against Duquesne.
But beyond that, this was just another is a series of pummelings that the Wildcats have handed out this season. They haven’t won a game by less than 21 points this season, and that came against Michigan State in the Champions Classic. They’ve broken 100 points in each of their last three games. The Michigan State win was the only time they failed to score at least 87 points.
This team is a machine.
And that has Cal somewhat concerned.
“We need close games to see — alright, who and how do we finish a game?” Calipari told fans before the game. “Who do we finish with and how do we finish? Who can make the play? Who cannot — absolutely not — be in the game? But, until you’re in a close game you don’t know. Believe me, I don’t want these kind of scores. At times, I’d like us to shoot 32 percent and win. Like, just god awful, can’t make a shot and still win the game.”
He’s got a point.
Kentucky’s non-conference schedule is somewhat back-loaded. They play No. 11 UCLA on Saturday. They get UNC in Vegas on Dec. 17th and Louisville in the Yum! Center on the 21st before kicking off SEC play at the end of the month. The thinking is that the Wildcats will get their early tests out of the way and Cal will have a feel for what players will be in what roles by the time the tough games come around.
Well, that hasn’t exactly worked.
The Wildcats will be tested on Saturday when UCLA, led by Lonzo Ball and a high-octane offense, comes to town.
For now, Kentucky fans should just enjoy the highlights: