Top-Ranked Kentucky Faces UT Martin on Friday
After beating Cleveland State 101-70 on Wednesday, top-ranked Kentucky returns to action on Friday, facing UT Martin at Rupp Arena.
|UT Martin at Kentucky|
|UK||2016-17 Team Stats||UTM|
|.212||Opp 3PT FG%||.293|
Freshman guard Malik Monk scored a career-high 23 points in the victory over Cleveland State, hitting 8 of 12 shots from the floor, including 4 of 6 from three-point range. His backcourt running mate, freshman guard De'Aaron Fox, added 16 points and 11 assists in the win.
Kentucky (5-0) played Wednesday's game without leading scorer Isaiah Briscoe, who was resting a sore back. Briscoe remains day-to-day.
The Wildcats have won all five of their games by at least 21 points this season for the first time since 1947-48. Kentucky is averaging 88.6 points per game thus far.
Briscoe leads the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 18 points per game, followed by Monk at 17.2. Fox scores 15.4 points per outing, while handing out a team-best 7.6 assists per game. Freshman big man Bam Adebayo scores 10.2 points per contest, and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game.
With the win on Wednesday, Kentucky head coach John Calipari has now won more games in Rupp Arena than any coach. Calipari's 123rd win moved him past former UK head coach Joe B. Hall, who won 122 games as the Wildcats' head man in Rupp Arena.
UT Martin comes into Friday's game with a 5-1 mark on the season. The Skyhawks have beaten Canisius (72-69) and Duquesne (66-63) in the Bluegrass Showcase. UT Martin also beat Transylvania 89-74 in their only exhibition game. Senior guard Jacolby Mobley leads the Skyhawks in scoring, averaging 18.7 points per game.
Friday's game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET tipoff and can be seen on the SEC Network.
The Nation's All-Time Wins Leader Returns to the Top of the Polls
Kentucky is the top team in the land according to the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Wildcats landed at No. 1 in both major polls on Monday. The Wildcats picked up 42 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 and 20 of the 31 firstplace votes in the Coaches’ Poll.
UK and John Calipari have been tough to beat playing the role of the hunted:
• The Wildcats own an all-time record of 219-29 (.883) as the nation’s top-ranked squad
• UK has won 64 of its last 68 contests as the AP’s top team
• The Wildcats are 67-6 (.918) as the AP No. 1 team since Calipari’s first year at the helm, the best record in the country by a topranked team during that span
• In eight seasons under Calipari, the Wildcats have reached No. 1 in six of those seasons
• Calipari is 108-11 (.908) all-time as head coach of the AP’s No. 1 team
• Only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (193) has more wins as a No. 1 ranked coach among active NCAA Division I teams than Calipari
• Kentucky has lost just twice at home as the AP top-ranked team in the history of the program and just once in Rupp Arena. Both losses came by just one point
• UK has now been ranked No. 1 a total of 123 weeks since the AP started ranking teams during the 1948-49 season. Only UCLA (134) and Duke (129) have been atop the rankings for more weeks
Wildcats Pound Cleveland State in First Game as Top-Ranked Team
As top-ranked Kentucky develops small steps, the on-court relationship between Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox is clearly off and running. Monk scored 23 points and Fox had 16 points and 11 assists to propel the Wildcats to a 101-70 rout of Cleveland State on Wednesday that was impressive on several fronts.
With leading scorer Isaiah Briscoe sidelined by a back injury (day to day), 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 this season as the nation's No. 1 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-best scoring set last week against Michigan State.
They combined for 15 assists -- including 10 in the first half -- and seven rebounds with two steals apiece, looking to each other when Kentucky was in transition. Their chemistry was evident in the first half when Monk stole the ball near midcourt and drove toward the basket before bouncing the ball off the glass perfectly back to the trailing Fox, whose thunderous dunk brought a roar from the crowd of 22,441 in Rupp Arena.
Bam Adebayo added 14 points and seven rebounds while Mychal Mulder matched a career high with 13 for Kentucky (his second straight game in double figures), which shot a season-best 52 percent from the field and broke 100 points for the first time this season. Wenyen Gabriel had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double (in addition to six assists) as Kentucky won the second of three games in the Bluegrass Showcase.
• With Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis in the starting lineup, UK started two Kentuckians and two seniors for the first time since March 4, 2014, when Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson opened on Senior Day
• It was the second straight game UK hit the 50-point mark by halftime. The 56 points were the most for Kentucky in a first half since tallying 57 against Arkansas on Jan. 23, 2010
• Monk's 19 points in the first half are the third most for a player in the first half during the John Calipari era
• UK forced CSU into 19 turnovers. The Wildcats have forced at least 18 turnovers in each of their first five games of a season for the first time since 2004-05
• With four more 3-pointers, Monk has made 16 3-point field goals on the season, tied for the most through five games since Jodie Meeks hit 16 in the first five games of the 2008-09 season
• Monk has made more 3-point field goals (16) in the first five games of his Kentucky career (regardless of class) than any other Wildcat in school history
• Fox led Kentucky in assists for the fifth straight game and has 38 dimes in five contests, the most in the first five contests of a season since Travis Ford in 1993-94 (38)
• Kentucky has a 37-game win streak at home against teams that are not ranked in the Associated Press Top 25
• UK increased its home-winning streak to 41 games, the second-longest such streak in Rupp Arena history and the second-longest current streak in the country
• Hawkins made his first career start of the season but left the game with a knee contusion. He's day-to-day
• Isaac Humphries pitched in with a career-high-tying nine points and nine rebounds in 11 minutes
• With another rout, UK has won its first five games by at least 21 points for the first time since the 1947-48 season