Cats rout Asbury in final exhibition


Members of Kentucky’s bench stand up and celebrate during the game against Asbury on Sunday, November 6, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

By Katie Summe

Sunday night, UK men’s basketball showed its talent in its second and final exhibition game against the Asbury Eagles, winning 156-63.

With the opener and the Champions Classic games quickly approaching this November for the Cats, the game allowed head coach John Calipari a better look at his players and to plan for rotation moving forward.

Because the game against the Eagles was a faced paced affair that ended heavily one-sided for UK, Calipari was able to see which players are strong enough to lead and control the ball on the court, and which players he plans on playing together in rotations.

UK starters Derek Willis, Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk, Bam Adebayo, and De’Aaron Fox looked especially strong in the first half giving the Cats an 88-25 lead going into the locker room.

Fox showed good control of the ball in both halves, as he tallied a game high of 25 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists.

“De’Aaron showed his speed. I told [the players], it showed that we’ve got to be in better shape or you’ve got to play less minutes, one of the two,” Calipari said.

UK’s offense in their two exhibition games against Clarion and Asbury have shown promise for a high-scoring season for the Cats. Calipari’s decision to start all three guards in the game against the Eagles was a chance for him to see which players will show the most potential on the court in the future.

Calipari played his entire roster again tonight, but he especially wanted to see what Wenyen Gabriel’s skills were like before the regular season. 

‘‘I know who you (Derek Willis) are, I need to keep learning about [Gabriel], which is why I played him more,” Calipari said after the game.

Calipari now has a better understanding of the skill sets his new players like Gabriel have to offer and how his old players are improving their game.

UK’s strong offense was the narrative of their second game against Asbury and the game served as an opportunity for the Cats to show off more of their pre-season skills and their confidence before the regular season tips off this Friday against Stephen F. Austin.