Cats tighten up defense, roll over Monmouth 90-44


University of Kentucky men’s basketball team played Monmouth University at Rupp Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Needing to improve on the defensive end, the UK basketball team answered the call Wednesday night as the Cats bludgeoned a still-winless Monmouth team in Lexington, 90-44.

The game started as roughly as the last several for the Cats, as the Hawks tied the game at six just a few minutes into the game. Freshman guard Tyler Herro electrified the Cats by going on a solo 8-0 run before assisting on a three by sophomore guard Quade Green to give UK a 17-6 advantage. Herro finished the game with 16 points, eight rebounds and five steals, leading the Cats to their victory.

The entire Cats team was hot from behind the arc for most of the game, as Green poured in most of his 14 points from the three-point line. He set a new career high in made threes with his fourth make, with several minutes still left in the game.

The Hawks weren’t going away quietly in the first half, leading the home team in offensive rebounds until about five minutes were gone in the game. A short run kept them within single digits before a 10-0 Kentucky run blasted the game open and let the Cats run wild.

The guards dominated the game’s scoring, but the four big men for the Cats put in their fair share in the blowout victory. UK outrebounded the visitors 40-25, as forwards P.J. Washington (8 points, 8 rebounds), Reid Travis (13 points, 6 rebounds) and EJ Montgomery (7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) dominated the glass. Center Nick Richards was a strong defensive presence, swatting three shots as the Hawks penetrated inside.

The game was also historically dominant for the Cats. It was the first game since the dominant 2014-15 season in which the Cats held their opponent to under 44 points (West Virginia, NCAA Tournament, 78-39). It was also the largest margin of victory for the Cats since 2016, when a team led by De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk rolled over Arizona State 115-69.

The Cats now rise to 6-1 on the season and will have another chance to defend their record at home on Saturday, when they host UNC Greensboro. UNC Greensboro lost by only six points on the road against LSU earlier this season.