Only 9,086 were in attendance last night’s UK MBB game in Oxford, Mississippi for the Southeastern Conference opening game for both teams. The Cats were looking to get back on track after the loss to in state rival Louisville before the Christmas break and came out like the dominant team we saw signs of earlier in the season. Fast breaks, dunks, and three point baskets highlighted the first half for Kentucky while, turnovers, and poor shooting haunted Ole Miss. Kentucky shot 61.5% from the field and 62.5% from three in the first half going into the locker room with a 60-39 lead over the Rebels.
After the locker room break, the Cats shooting seemed to cool down a bit making only 37.1% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc. Poor shooting and sloppy play from both teams made the second half seem like a different ballgame. The Rebels did cut the lead to 16 before Coach Cal took a timeout to wake his players up. Out of the timeout UK went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 85-63 and put the game away. Final score of the game ended up being UK 99 and Ole Miss 76 bringing UK’s record to 11-2 on the season. This was UK’s fourth consecutive game away from Rupp but the Cats will be at home on Tuesday to open SEC play in Rupp against Texas A&M which should be a better opponent than the Rebels.
The real story of the night was Isaiah Briscoe. Briscoe was one rebound shy of a triple double when Derek Willis went to the line for a free throw and …”missed”… giving Briscoe the opportunity to secure his 10th rebound of the night and only the third ever triple double in UK men’s basketball history and the second this year. Briscoe finished with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Malik Monk was back to himself scoring a game high 34 points and setting the UK record for most points for a freshman in a road game in the SEC. Bam also poured in a career high 25 points with 16 of those coming on power dunks in the paint. These may be some of the most talented athletes to ever wear the UK Blue and White as individuals. No other year in history have we saw the individual accomplishments that we have this year and we’re just one game into conference play. Can the mediocre talent they’ll face in the SEC prepare these individuals to play as a team come tournament time? We will find out soon.