This Kentucky basketball team isn’t perfect — as UCLA revealed a little over a week ago — but these Wildcats are so quick, athletic and talented that they can run away from an opponent faster than you can spell “timeout.” Hofstra was the latest victim Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Down just three in the final four minutes of the first half, the Pride found themselves behind by 28 five minutes into the second. Sixth-ranked Kentucky led by as many as 31 points and cruised to a 96-73 victory.
Guards Isaiah Briscoe (19) and Malik Monk (20) led four Wildcats in double-digit scoring. Fellow guard De’Aaron Fox had 15 and 5 rebounds, while freshman forward Bam Adebayo had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Kentucky’s starting five — those four above and Derek Willis (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists, 1 block) — outscored Hofstra’s entire team 76-73. Pretty solid work.
Player of the game
There was a lot of talk this week about how the Wildcats feed off Briscoe’s energy, and he took that to heart again Sunday. The sophomore guard was active on defense from the start and seemed in complete control offensively. He hit his first six shots and scored 15 of his 19 points by halftime.
Briscoe finished 8 of 11 from the field and added 6 assists and 2 rebounds in 32 minutes.
Stat line of the game
Monk made just 1 of 6 3-pointers to start the game, then caught fire and swished three in a row during the Wildcats’ breakaway run. He scored 10 points in a span of 5:55 from late in the first half to early in the second. Monk now has 30 made 3-pointers in his first 10 college games, putting him on pace to chase Jodie Meeks’ school record of 117 made 3-pointers in a single season. At his current rate, Monk would need 39 games to tie that record.
Kentucky was playing with its food early, letting Hofstra hang around deep into the first half. The Pride cut what had been an 11-point lead down to three with 3:39 to go before the break — and then the Wildcats swallowed them whole. UK scored the final 12 points of the first half, including seven straight by Monk, and the first six points of the second.
The blitz didn’t stop there, as the Cats hit their first eight shots after intermission and extended the run to 21-1, then 26-3 and eventually 31-6 to give them a 28-point lead with 14:53 to go. In less than nine total minutes of game clock, Kentucky robbed Hofstra of all hope.
What’s next for Kentucky basketball
The Wildcats travel to Las Vegas to face No. 7 North Carolina (10-1) on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic (5;45 p.m. ET, CBS). Like Kentucky, the Tar Heels have a high-scoring offense. They scored 90-plus points six times in their first 10 games. The Cats have done that seven times.
Kentucky vs. Hofstra box score