OXFORD, Miss. – This is most definitely not the Tad Pad. When eighth-ranked Kentucky basketball plays at Ole Miss tonight, the arena will be a major upgrade over the last time the Wildcats came to town.
The dark, decrepit old Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1964, is no longer the Rebels’ home. They moved into the glittering new $96.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss in January, but Kentucky didn’t visit Oxford last season, so this is the Cats’ first in-person look.
John Calipari should be impressed. During his last trip to the Tad Pad in 2013, here was the UK coach’s rant:
“I said, ‘Andy (Kennedy), you want me to mention something about building you a new building?’ They’re 17-2. Would you please build the guy a new building? The locker room we’re in is like – I’m looking for squirrels in there. You’ve got to be kidding me. You got all these football facilities, the campus is gorgeous. This campus is like none other. This is one of the nicest college campuses in the country – except for this building. This is the only bad building on the whole campus.”
And while that building is still standing, the new one has more than rectified the problem. For real-time updates from tonight’s game, stay on this page and refresh often.
TRIPLE-DOUBLE! Briscoe finally got it with 2:45 to go in the game. He just exited with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, joining De’Aaron Fox and Chris Mills as the only players in Kentucky history with a triple-double. UK leads 99-73 with barely a minute to go. Quite a night, as Monk has 34 points and Adebayo went for a career-high 25.
74-55 UK, 11:49 2H: Briscoe is so close to that triple-double now that he can surely taste it: 13 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds. Monk is stuck on 24 points, but now Adebayo has 21 on 10-of-16 shooting, which continues an upward trend for the freshman big man. Ole Miss is hitting some shots now, keeping the Cats from completely running away with it, but Kentucky has really never had to sweat tonight.
HALFTIME: No. 8 Kentucky 60, Ole Miss 39
Holy bounceback. The Wildcats are experiencing no Louisville hangover, as they’re running the Rebels right out of their own shiny new arena. With De’Aaron Fox in foul trouble – after posting 8 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in just 6 minutes – both Malik Monk and Isaiah Briscoe went off in the opening 20 minutes. Monk hit 9 of 12 shots, including several drives, and 3 of 4 threes for 24 points before intermission. Briscoe is chasing down just the third triple-double in school history (but second this season): 8 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds in the half. Monk and Bam Adebayo (12 points) were the main beneficiaries. Kentucky shot 63.2 percent to Ole Miss’ 34.1 percent in the first half. It’s ugly in Oxford.
46-29 UK, 3:57 1H: Wouldn’t it be something if Kentucky basketball went its entire history with just one triple-double and then got two in the first half of this season? De’Aaron Fox already did it once (with an asterisk), but Briscoe is really threatening it now: 6 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds in the half. And the Cats are just clobbering the Rebels. Monk is doing as Calipari asked and attacking the basket, to the tune of 14 points so far. And the team is doing as Calipari asked and feeding Adebayo inside, to the tune of a dozen first-half points for him on 6-of-8 shooting. This is a beatdown.
36-21 UK, 7:56 1H: Briscoe is throwing beautiful lobs to Bam Adebayo (eight points) and putting himself on triple-double alert with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in just 12 minutes so far. Mychal Mulder did what he does, checking in and promptly swishing a 3-pointer to briefly push Kentucky’s lead to 18. The Cats are still shooting 60 percent and holding the Rebels to 32.1. Big foul-trouble note for Ole Miss: starting point guard Cullen Neal picked up his third with 11 minutes to go in the half. Oh, and you need to see what Malik Monk did for an and-one. It’s just not fair. He has eight points and four rebounds early.
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) December 30, 2016
26-13 UK, 11:57 1H: Kentucky’s hot streak extended to nine consecutive made shots and the visitors have led by as many as 15, but now Fox has just picked up his second foul with a lot of time left in the first half. Looks like we’ll see Briscoe running the show until after intermission. One unexpected sighting: little-used freshman forward Tai Wynyard checked in at the 14:50 mark in the first half, subbing for Adebayo. That was a short stint. UK is shooting 61.1 percent, Ole Miss 28.6.
17-7 UK, 16:01 1H: These young Cats are off to a great start in their second road game of the season and first in SEC play. After missing their first two shots, they’ve hit seven straight. Isaiah Briscoe looks great so far, already hitting for six points and an assist. De’Aaron Fox has four points and an assist and Malik Monk buried his first 3-pointer of the night after starting 0 for 7 at Louisville last week. Wenyen Gabriel is once again active right from the start with a pair of quick blocked shots. The Rebels are just 3 of 11 shooting so far.
And they're off … pic.twitter.com/AN92z34xrd
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) December 30, 2016
KENTUCKY STARTERS: Same five as usual for the Cats. It’ll be freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo with sophomore Isaiah Briscoe to open SEC play against Ole Miss.
MOVIE STAR ALERT: Morgan Freeman (cheering for the Rebels) and Ashley Judd (for the Cats) are both in the building. They’ve also shared the silver screen more than once, co-starring the movies “Kiss the Girls” and “High Crimes.”
— Matt Barnthouse (@MattBarnthouse) December 30, 2016
WATCH UK’S BIG MEN WARM UP:
SQUIRREL UPDATE! In a hilarious move, Ole Miss left Calipari a note (and squirrel) in the visiting locker room Thursday night.
This was waiting for me when I arrived at the arena a few minutes ago. Happy to help. LOL. Beautiful arena. pic.twitter.com/nP1FgLwWzb
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) December 29, 2016
Man, The Pavilion at Ole Miss is a terrific new arena. Stunning upgrade over The Tad Pad. pic.twitter.com/B36Ngl6GLv
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) December 29, 2016