Any concerns whether No. 8 Kentucky could bounce back from a tough road loss to an archrival were eliminated Thursday night in less than five minutes.
Malik Monk scored 34 points, Isaiah Briscoe had a triple-double and the Wildcats used an early surge to roll to a 99-76 victory over Mississippi in the SEC opener for both teams.
The Wildcats (11-2) showed no emotional hangover or playing rust after losing at No. 6 Louisville eight days ago.
“That first half is as good as we’ve played in a long time around here,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose club had a 13-0 run to build a 21-7 lead with 15:16 left in the first half. “It was a good road win against a good basketball team.”
Briscoe added 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who led 60-41 at halftime and were never seriously threatened. Edrice Adebayo added 25 points, primarily on the strength of seven dunks.
Monk finished 11 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and added six rebounds and three steals. Adebayo was 12 of 19 from the field and blocked three shots.
“They spread the court on us early and that’s tough with our guards and the alley-oops to Bam (Adebayo),” Briscoe said. “I’m fortunate with my triple-double. I’ve got teammates that can finish plays.”
Sebastian Saiz led the Rebels (9-4) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. DeAndre Burnett added 19 points and Rasheed Brooks had 15.
“They were speeding past us in the open floor, especially in the early going,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. “Obviously, we did not respond…
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