LAS VEGAS – On a terrific day for college hoops, the second half the CBS Sports Classic looks like the best of them all. If you like high-level athletes and high-scoring games, Kentucky basketball vs. North Carolina should be a treat.
The sixth-ranked Wildcats (9-1) and seventh-ranked Tar Heels (10-1) score fast – and a lot. But the key might rebounding, which could be trouble unless Kentucky steps up its game on the defensive glass. For real-time updates, stay here and refresh the page often.
FINAL: Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100
Malik Monk scored 47 points, and this is all you need to know: his three, down by two, with 22 seconds to go …
Oh my God, Monk. Down two and BANG. pic.twitter.com/n4BFZ7fOfb
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) December 18, 2016
93-86 UK, 4:54 2H: De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo can play a little, too. Fox is up to 21 points and 9 assists, while Adebayo has 13 and 7 boards. His spin and power jam put the Cats up seven, but then he picked up his fourth foul. That’s dangerous for Kentucky down the stretch. Monk has 39 points to 29 for UNC’s Jackson.
FRESHMAN RECORD: With another flurry: long jumper, crazy crossover and layup, contested 3-pointer, Malik Monk has blown by Terrence Jones and Jamal Murray’s shared school record for points in a game by a freshman (35). He’s up to 39. And counting. Goodness, what a show. He’s hit six 3-pointers and 15 of 23 shots overall.
Kentucky fans in force and LOUD in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/1x2mzVsWG6
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) December 18, 2016
74-72 UK, 11:39 2H: Let’s just play this game all night, OK? Monk rattled in his fifth 3-pointer to hit 32 points – just three away from tying Terrence Jones and Jamal Murray for the freshman school record – but Jackson keeps answering. He’s up to 27 on 8-of-14 shooting (3 of 6 threes), while Monk has hit 12 of 20 shots, 5 of 9 threes. This is electric. Great atmosphere, great game. Albeit pretty awful defense.
67-61 UK, 15:15 2H: Kentucky might want to guard Justin Jackson. Thing is, he’s a horrible matchup for the Cats. The 6-8 junior swingman buried a 3-pointer to reach 25 points (to Monk’s now 29) and keep the Tar Heels in this. Monk and Fox have combined for 44 points, but UNC’s Jackson and Berry have 40. This continues to be fun basketball.
HALFTIME: No. 6 Kentucky 56, No. 7 North Carolina 51
With a free throw in the final seconds, Malik Monk tied Jamal Murray’s Calipari-era record for points in any half – 27 in the second half against Ohio State in this same event last year. Monk hit 10 of 16 shots, 4 of 8 from three. Oh, and fellow freshman guard De’Aaron Fox had 11 points, 7 assists and 1 turnover in the half. The Tar Heels’ junior pair of Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II have combined for 33 points, though, to make this a game. We’re watching some high, high-level basketball. UNC shot 53.1 percent, UK 53.7 percent in the first half. We’re on pace for 100 points by both teams. Yes, please, more.
47-41 UK, 3:50 1H: Thousands of Kentucky fans made the trip to Vegas for this game, and they’re being treated to a helluva show by Malik Monk. He’s up to 24 points in 15 first-half minutes. He’s hit 9 of 13 shots, including 4 of 8 threes. No UK player has scored more in a first half in the John Calipari era (2009-10 to present). His last make got the lead to 47-37 with 5:22 to go before the break. Justin Jackson is keeping the Tar Heels in this, though, with 14 points of his own.
Some highlights of Malik Monk's first half: pic.twitter.com/xLvZSeCrEb
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 17, 2016
36-26 UK, 7:58 1H: Mercy, Malik. Thanks to a flurry of free throws – including a technical on UNC coach Roy Williams for launching his jacket after a tripping call he didn’t like – and Monk’s continued heater, the Cats’ lead has ballooned to double digits. Monk is up to 19 points (7-9 FG, 3-5 threes) in just 11 minutes. De’Aaron Fox is off to a nice start, too, including a high-flying jam off a lob from Monk. Fox has 7 points, 4 assists and 1 turnover so far. The gap is closing on the glass (14-11 now in favor of UNC) and Kentucky’s offense is rolling: 10 assists on 14 made baskets. This is the Cats at their best.
21-19 UK, 11:44 1H: Monk is going bonkers now. Two more long, swished jump shots and a bucket inside have pushed him to 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first seven minutes. North Carolina is shooting 53.3 percent and winning 11-7 on the glass. Big development, though: Heels big man and leading rebounder Kennedy Meeks sat down with 14-plus minutes to go in the half after picking up his second foul while battling Bam Adebayo for a rebound.
Malik Monk comes to play in big games. WOW!!!! pic.twitter.com/OQBqQ2dKXU
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) December 17, 2016
12-10 UNC, 15:46 1H: Malik Monk is feeling it early. He’s 3 of 5 shooting, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, and has eight points in barely four minutes. But North Carolina is, as expected, doing work on the glass. The Tar Heels lead 8-4 in rebounds and have scored six second-chance points on three offensive boards. UNC leads the nation in offensive rebound percentage and total rebound margin.
You are looking LIVE! at the CBS Sports Classic in Vegas. Whole lotta blue here. pic.twitter.com/IhCrohf6Hx
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) December 17, 2016
STARTERS: John Calipari is going with four freshmen (Fox, Monk, Gabriel and Adebayo) with sophomore Briscoe to start against the more veteran Tar Heels.