Malik Monk - photo by Walter Cornett

Beware of Kentucky’s new 3-headed backcourt monster

De'Aaron Fox - photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
De’Aaron Fox – photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

No. 2 Kentucky was expected to comfortably take care of business against short-handed No. 13 Michigan State on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic because the Spartans lack the size to handle the plethora of big Wildcats.

Instead, it was Kentucky’s guards putting on a show against Michigan State at Madison Square Garden, pacing the Wildcats to the 69-48 victory.

It was perhaps the best three-guard performance we’ve seen in college hoops since the one Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis had against Duke one year ago in this same event. Those guards ran circles around the Blue Devils, made Grayson Allen look like a benchwarmer and cruised to the type of win that had us wondering if anyone would be able to beat that team.

Malik Monk was touted in high school for his ability to fly through the air for rim-rattling dunks, but he orchestrated a shooting clinic at the Garden. While the rest of the Wildcats shot a combined 0-of-10 from three-point range, Monk was 7-of-11 en route to a game-high 23 points.

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Terrence Jones scores 26 points in place of Anthony Davis

Terrence Jones -  (Photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune)
Terrence Jones – (Photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune)

New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry and his players were faced with an insurmountable challenge on Wednesday night against the Orlando Magic. They tried to get a road win without having Anthony Davis to help.

Davis, who is the NBA’s third-leading scorer with a 30.5 average, was unable to play because of a bruised right quad that flared up several hours before the game.

Without him, the Pelicans gave a hard fought effort but lost to the Magic 89-82 despite a 26-point effort from Terrence Jones, who started in place of Davis at power forward.

Read full article here.

Kentucky Huddle - photo by Walter Cornett

The Kentucky Wildcats are one loaded basketball team

Kentucky Huddle - photo by Walter Cornett
Kentucky Huddle – photo by Walter Cornett

Big Blue Nation is going to love this edition of Kentucky basketball.

The Wildcats are deep, quick, can score in transition, defend well and will get better and better. John Calipari lost so much talent from last season: Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere, Alex Poythress. Calipari is a recruiting machine and he has reloaded.

You couldn’t tell how his team would respond to playing in Madison Square Garden against a ranked team Tuesday night. Kentucky passed its test against Michigan State, 69-48.

Remember, this squad has been together for about a month. It is young, but oh so talented. They play well as a team and Michigan State’s size advantage was a small factor.

Read full article here.

Kentucky Defense - photo by Walter Cornett

Kentucky displaying championship-level defense

Kentucky Defense - photo by Walter Cornett
Kentucky Defense – photo by Walter Cornett

People from the periphery may highlight Malik Monk’s 23-point performance as the main reason why the Kentucky Wildcats were able to leave Madison Square Garden with a 69-48 win over the Big Ten’s elite program, but those in attendance know there was one reason for Kentucky’s triumph.


John Calipari’s squad completely stifled Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges, holding him to six points on a night in which he made just 2-of-11 shots from the field.

“We’re getting better,” Calipari said after the game. “Our pick-and-roll defense stinks right now, but it’ll get better. We get out rebounded again, but we’re getting better. These guys took a lot of pride in this game.”

How good was the Wildcats’ defense?

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Malik Monk

Malik Monk makes history against Michigan State plus boxscore and other game notes

Go here for boxscore.

  • Kentucky is 3-0. Michigan State is 0-2.
  • Kentucky leads the all-time series vs. Michigan State, 13-11.
  • Kentucky has a 4-2 record in the six-year history of the Champions Classic, 1-1 Michigan State, 2-0 v. Kansas, 1-1 vs. Duke.
  • Kentucky’s future schedule in the Champion Classic features:
    • UK vs. Kansas, 14, 2017 (Chicago)
    • UK vs. Duke, 13, 2018 (Indianapolis)
    • UK vs. Michigan State, 12, 2019 (New York)
  • UK has an all-time record of 36-13 in Madison Square Garden, including 24-10 in the original building and 12-3 in the current arena. UK is 2-0 in Champions Classic games in MSG, also played here in the 2011 event.
  • Kentucky returns to action Sunday at home vs. Duquesne. Game time is 9 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky has started the lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk, Derek Willis and Bam Adebayo in all three games this season.
  • Malik Monk made a 3-pointer at the 16:04 mark, extending Kentucky’s streak of 978 games with at least one 3-pointer, the longest streak in the nation.
  • Monk’s first long ball was a harbinger of things to come.  Tied at 12, his third 3-pointer of the half ignited a 14-2 run that gave the Wildcats a 26-14 lead they did not relinquish.
  • Michigan State got as close as four but Kentucky lengthened the gap to 34-26 going into intermission. Monk led the Cats with 14 in the opening frame and Briscoe added 10.

 In the Second Half

  • Michigan State opened the second half with a 3-pointer but the Spartans got no closer.
  • Kentucky steadily added to its advantage, leading by as many as 23 points at 67-44.
  • The Wildcats closed out with a 69-48 win.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky limited Michigan State to 48 points.  No Spartan reached double figures in scoring.
    • UK is 64-0 under Coach John Calipari when limiting the opponents to 55 points or fewer.
    • UK is 134-5 under Calipari when limiting the opponents to 63 points or fewer.
  • Kentucky blocked eight shots tonight. The Wildcats have at least seven rejections in all three games this season.
  • Kentucky forced 20 turnovers and won points off turnovers 24-12.
  • Kentucky made 16-of-20 at the foul line. The 80 percent mark is the Wildcats’ best of the young season.
  • This is the second-straight game that the Wildcats have had a pair of 20-point scorers.
  • Coach John Calipari has a 665-187 (.781) on-court record, including a 220-47 (.824) mark at UK.

Player Notes  

  • Freshman Malik Monk led all scorers with 23 points, sinking 7-of-11 on 3-point shots.
    • Monk is the third freshman in school history to make at least seven 3-pointers in a regular-season non-conference game, also Doron Lamb and Jamal Murray.
    • Monk also tied Wenyen Gabriel as the top Wildcat rebounder with six boards.
    • Monk has scored double figures in all three games this season.
  • Isaiah Briscoe totaled 21 points, including 5-of-5 at the foul line.
    • Briscoe has scored at least 17 points in all three games, featuring 21 the last two games.
  • Freshman De’Aaron Fox had 12 points, his third-straight game in double figures.
    • He made 6-of-6 foul shots and has made all 21 of his free throw attempts this season.
    • Fox had a game-high six assists and has led the Wildcats in assists all three games.
Malik Monk - photo by Walter Cornett

Kentucky Wildcats tease potential in dominant win over Michigan State

Malik Monk - photo by Walter Cornett
Malik Monk – photo by Walter Cornett

One of the Kentucky freshmen stepped up big from the outside while the rest of the Wildcats took care of things with defense.

Malik Monk’s 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range and the second-ranked Wildcats’ defense that held No. 13 Michigan State to 32.8 percent shooting combined for a 69-48 victory Tuesday night in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“These guys took some pride defensively here,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Michigan State they run great stuff. They iso and do things that forced us to prepare beyond where we are.”

The Wildcats (3-0) averaged 90 points in their first two games but this time it was defense that did it as the Spartans (0-2) shot 32.8 percent from the field (20 of 61) including 5 for 26 (19.2 percent) from beyond the arc.

Read full article here.

Kentucky faces Michigan State in Champions Classic – all you need to know

Four of college basketball’s elite programs will gather at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night for the renewal of the Champions Classic. Kentucky faces Michigan State at 7 p.m. ET followed by Duke vs. Kansas at 9:15.

Tue., Nov. 15 – 7 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden
New York, N.Y.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | Clarion MSU Get Acrobat Reader
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Radio: UK Sports Network
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For No. 2-ranked Kentucky, it will be the first true test for John Calipari’s young team, which features three McDonald’s All-American freshmen in the starting lineup. The Wildcats defeated Stephen F. Austin 87-64 on Friday and Canisius 93-69 on Sunday before heading to New York City.

Michigan State, preseason ranked No. 12, opened its season Friday with a last-second 65-63 loss to No. 10 Arizona in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu. The Spartans jumped out to a 17-2 lead but could not hold it.

“Michigan State just lost,” Calipari said. “So we’re going to be playing a mean dog up in New York.”

It will be an interesting test for such a young Kentucky squad.

Read full article here.

WATCH: Darius Miller is still hitting game winners

Former Kentucky Wildcat and National Champion Darius Miller took his talents to Germany last year to play for Brose Baskets Bamberg.  This past weekend, against Giessen, he led his team with 20 points.  This included a last second game winner.

Tied at 77-77 with 7.6 seconds left in regulation, Darius Miller rose from the free throw line with 0.6 seconds remaining to sink a jumper giving the Bambergers the win.

You can read the full account, in German, here or here.  You’ll need to translate the text obviously.  Or you can watch it below.  You can hear the broadcaster say ICE COLD in German: