Sidelines with John Clay

Three take-aways from another Kentucky basketball rout (Texas A&M)

De'Aaron Fox on UK's defense

Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox on the team's defense in 42-point win over Texas A&M.
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Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox on the team's defense in 42-point win over Texas A&M.

Three take-aways from Kentucky’s 100-58 pasting of Texas A&M at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night:

1. They can’t all be this easy, can they?

The Cats opened SEC play last Thursday with a 23-point rout on the road at Ole Miss. Tuesday night, they came home to Lexington and demolished Texas A&M by 42 points at Rupp in their conference home opener. Two victories by a combined 65 points. This doesn’t seem fair.

Consider that Kentucky won five of its 18 SEC games by 20 or more points last season. It has already accomplished that twice in as many tries this year. It scored 60 points in the first half at Ole Miss. It scored exactly 50 points in each half against the Aggies. Yikes.

Remember, four of the previous  five UK-Texas A&M affairs, including the previous three, went to overtime. Both times the teams met last season, an extra period was needed to decide the winner. That happened the first meeting in College Station and the second in the SEC Tournament title game in Nashville. Not this time.

Kentucky coach John Calipari compliments his team after the 100-58 win over Texas A&M.

After A&M’s Admon Gilder scored the game’s first bucket with a three-pointer out of the corner, UK ticked off the next 15 points. The Cats forced the visitors into six straight turnovers. When the long, long night was over, the Aggies had committed 25 turnovers. Kentucky committed only nine. There’s your ballgame right there.

2. If Isaiah Briscoe can make outside shots, Kentucky can win it all

That’s what Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said after Kentucky’s sophomore guard was a perfect three for three from three-point range. This from a player who has been known to launch some wounded ducks from beyond the arc. Not now. Time in the gym has paid off handsomely. Briscoe was five of nine from the floor on the way to 13 points with seven assists.

“He’s still getting too many shots blocked,” Coach John Calipari said. “Not blocked shots, but shots that are blocked.”

Briscoe bristled at that, pointing out that he’s shooting about 55 percent from the floor. He agreed that the coach is always looking for a button to push. “That’s OK,” Briscoe said. “They’re never satisfied.”

But Kennedy is right. If Briscoe is a weapon from the perimeter, a player who has to be guarded, then the Cats are lifted to an even higher level.

“It opens up the floor for all of us,” teammate Malik Monk said.

3. Here come the Hogs

After losing its SEC home opener last week to Florida, Arkansas evened its conference slate at 1-1 with an 82-78 win at Tennessee. Now the Razorbacks, 12-2 overall, invade Rupp Arena on Saturday night for a date with the sixth-ranked Cats.

You would think it would be a special date for UK freshman Malik Monk, who hails from Arkansas. After scoring a game-high 26 points on Tuesday, Monk downplayed Saturday as "just another game.” He claimed that he didn’t take much grief from the home folks after turning his back on the Razorbacks to come to Kentucky. He said most told him he made a good choice.

Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk, an Arkansas native, says Saturday's game against the Razorbacks is no different than any other game.

Meanwhile, Arkansas shot 50 percent from the floor and made five of 11 three-pointers to get the win at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Hogs held UT to 39.1 percent shooting. Anton Beard came off the bench to score 16 points. And Daryl Macon made 12 of his 13 free throws as Mike Anderson’s club overcame a 39-37 halftime deficit.

The SEC Network has Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. telecast.

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy talks to media after his team's 100-58 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky’s SEC wins by 20 or more in Calipari Era

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Dec

Mrg

1/18/09

@Georgia

68

45

W

23

1/23/10

Arkansas

101

70

W

31

2/6/10

@LSU

81

55

W

26

2/25/10

S Carolina

82

61

W

21

1/11/11

Auburn

78

54

W

24

1/15/11

LSU

82

44

W

38

2/19/11

S Carolina

90

59

W

33

1/17/12

Arkansas

86

63

W

23

1/28/12

@LSU

74

50

W

21

1/31/12

Tennessee

69

44

W

25

2/4/12

@S Carolina

86

52

W

34

2/7/12

Florida

78

58

W

20

3/1/12

Georgia

79

49

W

30

1/19/13

@Auburn

75

53

W

22

2/5/13

S Carolina

77

55

W

22

2/27/13

Mississippi St.

85

55

W

30

1/8/14

Mississippi St.

85

63

W

22

1/25/14

Georgia

79

54

W

25

1/13/15

Missouri

86

37

W

49

1/17/15

@Alabama

78

40

W

38

2/14/15

S Carolina

77

43

W

34

2/21/15

Auburn

110

75

W

35

1/2/16

Ole Miss

83

61

W

22

1/27/16

Missouri

88

54

W

34

2/9/16

Georgia

82

48

W

34

2/13/16

@S Carolina

89

62

W

27

2/23/16

Alabama

78

53

W

25

12/29/16

@Ole Miss

99

76

W

23

1/3/17

Texas A&M

100

58

W

42

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