Kentucky Basketball: Cats Roll Over Cleveland State

Kentucky Basketball: Cats Roll over Cleveland State to Remain Unbeaten; Defense, Guard Play and Transition Basketball Again Carry UK to Win

The No. 1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats showed no let down after its recent ascent to the top ranked

Nov 23, 2016; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk (5) makes a lay up against the Cleveland State Vikings in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

team in the country. Instead, the Cats were dominant today in Rupp Arena, powered by dominating guard play, smothering on ball defense and an unrelenting transition game that consistently delivers layups, lobs and kick-out 3-pointers.

Kentucky was dominant from the jump, with Malik Monk leading the way with 19 first half points  on 7-8 shooting from the field, including 4-4 from 3-point range. De’Aaron Fox was also brilliant, adding 12 points and 6 assists. The duo combined for a ridiculous play early in the half, when after a Monk steal the freshman guard through it off the backboard to his backcourt mate, Fox, for an rim-rocking dunk the ignited the crowd in Rupp. The play defined the guards’ impact on the game, and how easy it would be for the Cats. GAME STATS

Monk finished with 23 points to lead Kentucky, while Fox added 16. In all, the Cats had five players in double figures, with Bam Adebayo scoring 14 points, Wenyen Gabriel 10, and Mychal Mulder getting 13.

Cleveland State was led by Rob Edwards, who was the one player that gave Kentucky fits, with x points. Only one other player managed to reach double digits in scoring.

But the Cats made it tough on everyone else, forcing Cleveland State into 19 turnovers with tremendous on ball pressure, especially early in the first half. Kentucky won the rebounding battle 47-36, getting 16 offensive boards. Gabriel led the way for Kentucky with 10 rebounds, giving the freshman a double-double for the game. Kentucky also blocked 6 shots, as six different Cats recorded one each.

The Cats return to action Friday, Nov. 23, at 7 PM, when Kentucky will host UT Martin at Rupp Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM EST, and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.

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