No. 1 Kentucky routs Arizona State
NASSAU, Bahamas -- No. 1 Kentucky ran its record to 7-0 Monday night with a 115-69 victory over Arizona State in a regular-season game played at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
“They were spectacular,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a faster team in my year’s coaching. How relentless they are with their energy, pursuit of the basketball and how they get up and down the floor. They play the right way, for each other. Those are characteristics of an elite teams.”
Freshman guard De‘Aaron Fox led the rout by recording the school’s first triple-double since Chris Mills in 1988. His stat line of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists also marks only the second triple-double in the program’s storied history.
“I didn’t even know that’s how long it’s been,” Fox said. “But it felt good.”
For the longest time, Fox was stuck on nine assists until a 3-pointer by Malik Monk with 4:44 remaining pushed UK to a 101-62 lead.
“Malik made a terrific shot,” Fox said. “My mom told me to tell him thanks.”
Kentucky was led in scoring by Monk’s with 23 points. Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe added 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in his first game back after missing two games due to a severe muscle bruise.
In all, six players scored in double figures for Kentucky. After Monk, Briscoe and Fox, freshman forward Bam Adebayo had 12 points and nine rebounds, senior forward Derek Willis had 11 points and freshman forward Wenyen Gabriel had 10.
As a team, Kentucky shot 52.4 percent. They outrebounded Arizona State 59-33 and recorded 33 assists.
“My question now when we get back will be how to we take this to another level,” Calipari said. “This team competes. Their learning, their talking.”
Arizona State was led by Sam Cunliffe and Obinna Oleka with 14 points each. Tra Holder and Torian Graham had 12 points each and Shannon Evans had 11.
The Sun Devils shot only 34.2 percent, 25-of-73. They also had 14 turnovers.
Kentucky blew open the game with a 17-4 run to start the second half, pushing the lead from 28 to 41 points at 75-34.
Kentucky raced to a 58-30 halftime advantage, its third straight game topping 50 points by intermission.
Fox led the assault with 10 points with nine points coming from Adebayo, Monk and Briscoe. Willis had seven.
As a team, Kentucky made 53.5 percent of its shots in the first half. Remarkably, 18 of the Wildcats’ 23 first-half field goals came via an assist.
NOTES: Kentucky has now topped 100 points in three straight games, including a101-70 victory over Cleveland State and a 111-76 win over UT-Martin. ... Kentucky’s scoring pace of 13.8 seconds per possession is the fastest of any John Calipari-coached Kentucky team. ... With games in Orlando and Nassau, Arizona State’s basketball team has already logged 8,000 miles from Phoenix.