By Tony Acree All the talk leading up to the Kentucky Wildcats taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks centered around Malik Monk, Kentucky’s star guard who came into the game leading the SEC in scoring. An Arkansas native, Monk passed up a chance playing for the school where his brother played football and chose to take his skills to the UK campus. Mike Anderson, the coach of the Razorbacks recruited Monk starting in 9th grade only to see him slip away. People in Arkansas were so upset with Monk heading north they have taunted him via social media non stop from the day he announced his decision and pointed to this game hoping for some payback. And while Monk did reach double figures with 12 points, the talk after the game was all about De’Aaron Fox.
The UK point guard scored a career high 27 points and blew by Arkansas defenders time and again to reach the rim for an easy layup or get fouled, where he made 7 out of 7 free throws. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, handed out 6 assists versus only 2 turnovers. Isiah Briscoe tossed in 15 and Derek Willis broke out of a recent shooting slump to 6 of 8 for 15 points, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc. Bam Adebayo rounded out the double digit scoring with 11.
Pre-season SEC Player of the Year Moses Kingsley, was held to a quiet 14 points. The Razorbacks were led in scoring by Daryl Macon with 15. The game saw it’s fair share of pushing and shoving as at one point a rugby game almost broke out on the floor. Double technicals resulted following one play and UK’s strength coach, Rob Harris, was tossed by referee Doug Shows for a yet undisclosed reason, during the last time out of the night.
Kentucky next plays Vandy on Tuesday night.