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Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox propel No. 6 Kentucky in rout of Texas A&M

By Darrell Bird, The Sports Xchange  

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- No. 6 Kentucky was clicking Tuesday night and there was nothing Texas A&M could do to stop the runaway train.
The Wildcats (12-2, 2-0 SEC) rolled to a 100-58 victory over the Aggies (8-5, 0-2) at Rupp Arena.
"Texas A&M, they just hit us on a good night," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "That's as good as we'll play. We shot the 3, we made free throws. I mean, that's as good as we go."
The Wildcats are averaging 99.5 points in conference play after two games. They won their SEC opener 99-76 win at Ole Miss last Thursday. Their average margin of victory is 32.5 points.
"We're getting more possessions," Calipari said. "When you end up getting 10, 12 more possessions and you score on half of them, what's happening is you go from an 80-point scoring team to a 90, 92 or 93. That's the biggest thing. Plus, we're really fast."
Freshman guard Malik Monk led the rout with 26 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, including five 3-pointers. It followed a 34-point effort in the win at Ole Miss.
Freshman guard De'Aaron Fox added 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe scored 13, including a career-best three 3-pointers. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo had 10 points.
Kentucky, which saw its largest lead reach 47 points, shot 52.4 percent from the floor and made 13 3-pointers.
But the biggest key, Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said, was Briscoe's shooting.
"When he's doing that, they can win it all," Kennedy said. "I know Coach Cal doesn't want to hear that, but when he's a weapon offensively like he was today, I don't know how you defend it."
Texas A&M was led by sophomore forward Tyler Davis and sophomore guard Admon Gilder with 13 points apiece. The Aggies shot 44.7 percent from the field and committed 25 turnovers.
"Their defensive pressure gave our young guards a lot of problems," Kennedy said. "The turnovers mounted to where we couldn't combat them. I mean, sometimes we just gave them the ball. I thought we would play much better."
Kentucky wasted no time, using a 15-0 run to blow out to an 15-3 lead and force a Texas A&M timeout with only four minutes expired in the game. At that point, the Wildcats' defense had forced the Aggies into five straight turnovers.
Monk scored eight of the 15 points on 3-of-3 shooting, including 2-2 from 3-point range.
Kentucky grabbed its first 20-point lead at 28-8 with 7:41 left in the first half. At that point, Texas A&M had four times as many turnovers (12) as field goals made (3). The Wildcats had a 17-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
The first half ended with Kentucky up 50-27. The 23-point margin was its largest lead of the game to that point. The Wildcats held A&M to 38.5 percent shooting from the floor in the half while forcing 15 turnovers.
NOTES: Tuesday's game marked the first time in four meetings that overtime was not needed to determine the Kentucky-Texas A&M winner. The previous meeting was a thrilling 82-77 overtime victory by Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship in March. ... Kentucky G Malik Monk, at 22.4 points per game, is the highest scoring freshman in the nation. ... The last two SEC coaches of the year were Kentucky's John Calipari (2015) and Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy (2016).

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