Monday’s basketball: No. 1 Kentucky wins big
Kentucky was already up big when Isaiah Briscoe snatched down a second-half rebound, took a dribble and fired an outlet pass ahead to Malik Monk. The ball was high and off target, but Monk went airborne and redirected the ball with his right hand to Wenyen Gabriel for a transition reverse dunk.
Yes, the top-ranked Wildcats were so good Monday night that they were turning even mistakes into highlight-reel plays.
Freshman De’Aaron Fox posted the second triple-double in school history with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead that dominating effort as Kentucky beat Arizona State 115-69 on Monday night.
Monk scored 23 points for the Wildcats (7-0), who dominated an undersized team and quickly turned the game into a romping show of their athleticism and ability to run in transition.
Kentucky led by double figures roughly 6 minutes in, led 58-30 by halftime, then scored the first 12 points after the break to go up 40 with 15 minutes left.
“My question now when I go back will be: How now do we take this to another level?” coach John Calipari asked.
The game, billed as the Atlantis Showcase, was played at the same ballroom-turned-arena that hosted last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Fox was the easy choice as MVP, though the Wildcats had five players score in double figures and put up dominating numbers in just about every area. They shot 52 percent. They finished with a 59-33 rebounding advantage. They scored 21 points off turnovers and finished with 33 assists on 44 baskets.
“We just love playing together,” said freshman Bam Adebayo, who had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. “We’re like brothers, so we’re going to give each other the ball.”
Sam Cunliffe scored 14 points for the Sun Devils (4-3), who shot just 34 percent and made 8 of 26 3-point attempts (31 percent).
“As a competitor you feel a little shell-shocked in these moments,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “I would’ve hoped we would’ve performed a little better. … I thought they were spectacular.”
More Top 25
No. 18 Butler 68, (at) Utah 59: Kelan Martin scored 18 points as Butler, which moved into Top 25 earlier Monday, remained undefeated by handing Utah its first loss of the season. Butler controlled the game from the opening tip and trailed just once at 20-19. The Bulldogs responded to that with a 14-3 run to take a 10-point lead. A 13-4 run early in the second half, highlighted by a deep 3-pointer from Tyler Lewis, put Utah away. Butler did what it’s done all season — shoot well from the field, play stingy defense and limit turnovers. The Bulldogs shot 52.8 percent and held the Utes to 36.5 percent. Tyler Wideman chipped in 15 points for Butler. Kyle Kuzma led Utah with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Lorenzo Bonam finished with 17 points.
(At) No. 25 West Virginia 108, Manhattan 61: Esa Ahmad scored 19 to lead West Virginia.
Big Ten men
(At) Northwestern 65, Wake Forest 58: Bryant McIntosh scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half to lead Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. McIntosh struggled in the first half on 2-of-8 shooting, but caught fire midway through the second, hitting 8-for-8 from the field for 19 points after the 12:02 mark. His 3-pointer with 1:02 left gave the Wildcats (5-2) a 61-56 lead. John Collins had 12 points and 16 rebounds and Keyshawn Woods added 12 points for Wake Forest (5-2).
(At) Florida State 75, Minnesota 67: Dwayne Bacon scored 18 to lead Florida State in its rout of Minnesota (6-1) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Eastern Michigan sophomore forward/center James Thompson IV was named Mid-American Conference West Division player of the week.
The 6-foot-10 Thompson had a pair of double-doubles in two victories for Eastern Michigan (4-3). It is the second time that Thompson has earned the award in his career.
Thompson has five double-doubles this year.