No. 1 Kentucky runs away from Cleveland State 101-70
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Malik Monk scored 23 points and De'Aaron Fox added 16 to propel No. 1 Kentucky to a 101-70 rout of Cleveland State on Wednesday.
With leading scorer Isaiah Briscoe sidelined by a back injury, the freshman duo picked up the slack and did it quickly, helping Kentucky (5-0) roll to a 16-2 lead that was never threatened in its first game as the nation's top-ranked team. They combined for 31 first-half points alone, with 19 from Monk, whose 4-for-4 start from long range and 8-of-12 shooting overall helped him match his career scoring best set last week against Michigan State.
Bam Adebayo added 14 points and seven rebounds while Mychal Mulder matched a career high with 13 for Kentucky, which shot a season-best 52 percent from the field in the second of three games in the Bluegrass Showcase.
Rob Edwards' 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting led Cleveland State (1-3), which couldn't keep up with the Wildcats on either end and trailed 56-35 at the break.
THE BIG PICTURE
Cleveland State: One game after shooting a season-low 38 percent against UT Martin, the Vikings started well from the floor (10 of 19) behind Edwards' hot hand en route to 48 percent accuracy in the first half. But they trailed 40-22 at that point, demonstrating the difficulty of keeping pace with Kentucky. They were outscored 52-20 in the paint and outrebounded 47-36.
Kentucky: Senior guard Dominique Hawkins started in Briscoe's place along with Fox, Monk, Adebayo and Derek Willis (seven points, five rebounds), and that lineup was energetic from the start. The accuracy was certainly there as Kentucky made 8 of its first 10 from the field and shot 57 percent in the first half. Wenyen Gabriel added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats should remain atop the rankings through next weekend with their only major upcoming test on Monday against Arizona State in the Bahamas.
Cleveland State: Visits Duquesne on Sunday.
Kentucky: The Wildcats wrap up play in the Showcase on Friday night against UT Martin in the first meeting between the schools since Nov. 26, 1994, when they rolled to a 124-50 win.
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