Sidelines with John Clay

Malik Monk at home versus Malik Monk on the road. There is a difference.

So as we prepare to drop the curtain on this regular season, Kentucky fans would hate to think of where the Cats would be without the scoring machine that is freshman guard Malik Monk.

UK’s last two games were clear illustrations of Monk’s importance. Last Saturday, his 30 second-half points propelled John Calipari’s club to a 76-66 win over Florida. On Tuesday night, Monk scored 20 points in the second half as the Cats clawed back from a 19-point deficit to beat Vanderbilt, 73-67.

Both those games were in the friendly confines of Rupp Arena, however, and as Kentucky prepares to finish the regular schedule Saturday in College Station against Texas A&M, it should be noted that there has been a clear difference between Monk at home and Monk on the road in SEC play.

In nine SEC home games, Monk made 71 of 142 shots for an even 50 percent from the field.

In eight SEC road games, Monk has made 46 off 116 shots for 39.7 percent.

At home, Monk has made 35 of 66 three-point shots in SEC play for a stunning 53.0 percent.

On the road, Monk has made just 16 of 50 three-point shots for 32 percent.

In SEC play at Rupp, Monk averaged 25.4 points per game.

In SEC play away from Rupp, Monk is averaging 18.2 points per game.

In Rupp, Monk scored 37 points against Georgia, including the shot that sent the game into overtime in a 90-81 UK win. He scored 33 points against Florida; 27 each against South Carolina and Vanderbilt; 26 against Texas A&M and 24 against Auburn.

Just once at Rupp did Monk fail to score 20 points in an SEC game. That was his 12-point performance in the Cats’ win over Arkansas. De’Aaron Fox picked up the slack to rip the Razorbacks.

Conversely, Monk has failed to score 20 points in six of UK’s eight road conference games. He did score 34 at Ole Miss in Kentucky’s road opener on Dec. 29. He scored 25 in the Cats’ 82-80 loss at Tennessee on Jan. 24. Since then, he has scored 55 points in four road games, an average of 13.7 per game.

Aside from his 10-point game against Stephen F. Austin in his collegiate debut, Monk’s lowest-scoring games of the season are 11 points twice: at Florida on Feb. 4 and at Missouri on Feb. 21.

(Yes, that means Monk has scored double figures in all 30 of his college basketball roads. To say he hasn’t shot as well on the road can be construed as being picky.)

Against Georgia, Monk scored 26 more points at Rupp than he did at Stegeman Coliseum. Against Florida, Monk scored 22 more points at Rupp than he did when the Cats were trampled inside the new refurbished O’Connell Center.

This isn’t to say that Monk loves only the home rims. After all, he scored a jaw-dropping 47 points in UK’s 103-100 win over North Carolina in Las Vegas. (If only I had been there to see it.)

Before that, he scored 23 points in UK’s win over Michigan State in the Champions Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden in November. He scored 23 against Arizona State in the Bahamas and 20 points against Hofstra in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

His first true road game, however, was probably Monk’s worst game of the year. Coming off that monster game against North Carolina, Monk was just six of 17 from the floor, including one of nine from three-point range, in UK’s 73-70 loss at Louisville on Dec. 21.

Truth be told, Monk shoots free throws better at home. He made 52 of 60 free throws in nine SEC home games for 86.7 percent. That’s an average of 6.7 free throw attempts per game. On the road, Monk is 38 of 47 in eight conference games for 80.9 percent. That’s 5.9 free throw attempts per game.

Here’s the good news: Saturday at Texas A&M is Kentucky’s final road game. Next week it’s on to the SEC Tournament which, especially in Nashville, is just a UK home game away from Rupp Arena.

Once that conference requirement is out of the way, Kentucky moves on to the neutral courts of the NCAA Tournament.

Malik Monk shooting in SEC home games

Date

Opponent

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

TP

1/3/17

Texas A&M

8

11

5

7

5

5

26

1/7/17

Arkansas

4

10

0

5

4

6

12

1/14/17

Auburn

8

14

4

8

4

4

24

1/21/17

South Carolina

9

14

4

7

5

6

27

1/31/17

Georgia

10

21

7

11

10

12

37

2/7/17

LSU

8

15

4

8

3

4

23

2/14/17

Tennessee

7

18

4

7

2

2

20

2/25/17

Florida

9

18

5

7

10

11

33

2/28/17

Vanderbilt

8

21

2

6

9

10

27

 

Totals

71

142

35

66

52

60

229

Malik Monk shooting in SEC road games

Date

Opponent

FG

FGA

3P

3PA

FT

FTA

TP

12/29/16

@Miss

11

16

5

7

7

8

34

1/10/17

@Vandy

6

15

1

4

5

6

18

1/17/17

@Miss State

5

14

0

3

4

6

14

1/24/17

@Tennessee

7

19

3

13

8

10

25

2/4/17

@Florida

4

14

3

7

0

0

11

2/11/17

@Alabama

6

15

2

6

3

4

17

2/18/17

@Georgia

3

11

1

5

9

11

16

2/21/17

@Missouri

4

12

1

5

2

2

11

 

Totals

46

116

16

50

38

47

146

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