CRAWFORD | Kentucky serves notice to SEC visitors in Rupp demoli - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Kentucky serves notice to SEC visitors in Rupp demolition of Texas A&M

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Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe looks to make a save against Texas A&M. (AP photo) Kentucky's Isaiah Briscoe looks to make a save against Texas A&M. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Would the Kentucky player who stole Texas A&M’s ampersand please give it back to Rupp Arena security? They might not let the Aggies back onto campus without it.

This was a defensive undressing. When Kentucky decides it wants to play good defense, in Rupp Arena, forget it. In its first home game in nearly a month, the No. 6-ranked University of Kentucky basketball team sent a message to the Southeastern Conference Tuesday night in Lexington: Not here, boys.

There isn’t an SEC team that will come into Rupp Arena and win this season. Florida might have a fighting chance. I can’t see anyone else. This league just don’t have the horsepower to hang with these guys.

Certainly, Texas A&M, with an RPI of 99, didn’t have it in a 100-58 loss Tuesday night. The Aggies, who beat a good Virginia Tech team back in November, could offer no resistance to Kentucky at home — in what was their first true road game of the season.

Maybe they should’ve scheduled one or two road games somewhere else to start with.

Texas A&M quickly fell behind 35-15. By that point, Kentucky led 19-0 in points off turnovers. It was a Pillsbury special. The Aggies turned the ball over 25 times. Kentucky outscored them 35-2 off turnovers for the game.

Wildcats coach John Calipari has been preaching defense, and post touches for Bam Adebayo. He got both early against Texas A&M. Kentucky went into the post and it loosened up Texas A&M’s defense. Adebayo also had a steal near midcourt, stepped over the defender on the dribble, streaked down the court and scored on a finger-roll off a Euro step.

You could just hear the cha-chings from the NBA scouting section.

Adebayo had 10 early points, and finished with 10. And De’Aaron Fox had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Malik Monk continued cashing in, scoring a game-high 26 points on 5-7 shooting from three-point range.

But it was Isaiah Briscoe who had Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy shaking his head. He followed up his triple-double at Ole Miss with 13 points and seven assists, and made all three of his three-point tries.

“If Briscoe shoots it like that,” Kennedy said, “they’re almost impossible to defend.” If he shoots it like that, Kennedy said, Kentucky “can win it all.”

Calipari praised Briscoe’s work ethic in the past couple of weeks, saying he’d gotten back into the gym to keep working on his shot.

Kentucky’s trio of starting guards combined for 53 points. Texas A&M had 58. 

What Calipari liked, however, is that he got a full 40 minutes from his talented group, and that it played with discipline throughout.

The thing is, it doesn’t take a ton of defense when you have the offensive ability Kentucky has. But if you’re an opponent, you can’t let Kentucky score 35 points off turnovers, or outscore you 21-3 on putbacks, like Texas A&M did. That’s 56 points. Texas A&M scored 58. The Aggies shot 45 percent in the game, but only scored on 38 percent of their possessions. Kentucky scored on 61. You don’t have to be a math major to know that the sum of all that is ugly.

“We got a good team,” Calipari said. “I told Billy after, ‘That’s about as well as we can play. . . . This is starting to look like a team I coach, defensively.”

And if you’re an SEC opponent waiting for your matchup against these Wildcats? That looks scary.

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