LEXINGTON, Ky. – Well, that was ridiculous. When second-ranked Kentucky basketball plays an NAIA team like Asbury, everyone expects a blowout. But this was something else.
The Wildcats vaporized the poor Eagles, 156-63, Sunday night at Rupp Arena in UK’s final exhibition game. Setting a single-game school scoring record (counting exhibitions and actual games) will do nothing to quiet the hype about this young but super-talented team.
John Calipari’s team scored eighty-eight points in the first half and led by as many as 64 before the break. They hit 100 two and a half minutes into the second half, making the only remaining drama whether the Wildcats would lead by triple digits.
Yep. With 9:23 to go, Kentucky took a 135-35 lead. It actually grew briefly to 102 in what turned into a glorified dunk contest. The Cats crammed it 29 times and could’ve almost outscored Asbury on those buckets alone.
Player of the game: De’Aaron Fox. The Eagles had no answer for anyone on UK’s roster, but especially not the blazing-fast freshman point guard. He had 19 points in 12 first-half minutes and finished with 25 points (on 11-of-14 shooting), 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in just 17 minutes.
Stat line of the game: You won’t find this one in the box score, but it’s pretty wild. Asbury was paid $20,000 to play this game – or $128.20 per point Kentucky scored. Another crazy one: the Wildcats scored an insane 116 points in the paint alone.
Turning point: When the contract was signed. This was always going to be ugly. Not many would’ve predicted this ugly.
What’s next: Kentucky opens the regular season at home Friday night at 7 p.m. against Stephen F. Austin, one of the darlings of the last NCAA Tournament. That game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Box score: Eight Cats scored in double figures: Fox (25), Mychal Mulder (20), Wenyen Gabriel (16), Malik Monk (15), Derek Willis (14), Sacha Killeya-Jones (13), Isaiah Briscoe (11) and Tai Wynyard (10).