By Ricky Blair – Lexington, KY – Cats turned up the heat in the second half and cruised to a 72-58 win over the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils.
Kentucky struggled throughout the first half, limping into the locker room and nursing a one-point lead at the half. The Wildcats caught fire in the second half, led primarily by freshman Isaiah Briscoe, who scored nine straight points as a renewed energy fired up the young Cats. In one of the better halves of the year, the Cats outscored the Sun Devils 40-27 in the final 20 minutes.
Kentucky was led in scoring by Jamal Murray, who had 17 points and 5 assists. Murray did not have one of his better shooting games, making only 4 of 13 attempts. However, Murray did get to the foul line on a regular basis, making 7-8 from the free throw stripe. Junior Marcus Lee had one of his better games, scoring 14 points and going 6-8 from the field. Lee also had 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots on the game. Senior Alex Poythress had another solid game with 10 points and 6 rebounds. The inside presence of both Lee and Poythress was extremely effective, as true freshman big man Skal Labissiere continues to struggle. Labissiere had zero points, zero rebounds and only 1 blocked shot and continues to look lost on the court as he learns the college game.
The Wildcats’ outside shooting was lackluster to start the game, missing 10 of their first 11 three-point attempts before righting the ship in the second half. The young Cats made 5 of 10 from beyond the arc and raced out to a 23-point lead before slowing down and coasting to a 14-point win.
The #5 ranked Kentucky Wildcats will resume action on Saturday, December 19th against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Brooklyn, New York.