LEXINGTON, Ky., Sporting Alert — Talented freshman Malik Monk poured in 23 points, and No. 1 Kentucky trounced Cleveland State 101-70 in the Bluegrass Showcase on Wednesday.
Monk, who was matching his career-best, shot 8 of 12 from the floor and hit 4 of his 6 shots from long-range in 31 minutes.
The college rookie also scored 23 points in the 69-48 win over Michigan State on Nov. 15.
“We have great chemistry,” Monk said. “Although we never played that much together, we know where we are on the court.
“That’s another thing that makes this team so close.”
Fellow freshman guard Deaaron Fox added a double-double with 16 points and 11 assists and Edrice Adebayo finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats (5-0) who won their fifth straight game to start the new season.
Senior Mychal Mulder scored 13 points for the second game in a row and another freshman, Wenyen Gabriel, collected his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with six assists for Kentucky in the win.
The Wildcats, who replaced Duke as the No. 1 team in the country earlier this week, were without leading scorer Isaiah Briscoe after the sophomore guard sat out the game with a back injury.
He was listed as day-to-day.
“We played well,” Fox said. “Without Isaiah today, people stepped up and we ended up getting the win.”
Rob Edwards tallied a game-high 28 points and Bobby Word added 14 for Cleveland State (1-3).
“We’re trying to do everything from the outside and that’s hard against a team like Kentucky because their guards really come after you and play defense,” Vikings coach Gary Waters said.
“And you know what the crazy part about it is? They enjoy doing it.”
Kentucky, which blasted to a 16-2 lead, shot a season-best 52 percent, dominated the Vikings 25-7 in the assist column and outrebounded them 47-36.
The Wildcats will next be in action in the Showcase on Friday night against UT Martin.