USA Today Sports/Mark Zerof

Kentucky Wildcats roar past Texas A&M in long-awaited return to Rupp Arena

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Wildcats' return to Rupp Arena after nearly a month's hiatus proved to be worth the wait.

Playing its first game at home since Dec. 7, No. 6 Kentucky put on a show for the Big Blue faithful, running and gunning to a 100-58 victory over Texas A&M in an anti-climatic rematch of last year's SEC co-champions.

Eleven different Wildcats found the scoring column, led by 26 points from freshman guard Malik Monk and 15 from freshman backcourt mate De'Aaron Fox. Isaiah Briscoe and Bam Adebayo added 13 and 10, respectively. 

"Texas A&M caught us on a bad day," UK head coach John Calipari said. "They got us at our best, our best discipline."

Kentucky (12-2, 2-0 SEC) handed Texas A&M its worst loss since joining the league five years ago. The Aggies dropped to 8-5 overall and 0-2 in SEC play.

The Cats forced 25 turnovers leading to 35 points on the night.  Ten of those forced turnovers came via steals, including three for Adebayo, who also blocked three shots on a strong defensive night by the freshman center. 

Center Kyle Davis led the Aggies with 25 points, but was also saddled with seven of his team's turnovers.

In this AllWildcats “Rapid Recap” feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from the game…

WHAT WE LIKED:

Kentucky wasted no time imposing its will on the rebuilding Aggies. The Cats pressured A&M into several early mistakes and turned them into one transition bucket after another for an early 36-15 lead. At no point was the game ever in question, somethimg that was a bit surprising after UK and A&M played three highly competitive games last year in the regular season and SEC Tournamen. But these Aggies just didn't have the same fight -- or raw talent -- on this night. 

GAME BALL:

Malik Monk, Kentucky -- The freshman guard from Arkansas just keeps racking up points at an amazing clip. Monk followed his 34-point game against Ole Miss with 26 against A&M. Once again, he was extremely efficient, needing only 11 shots from the floor to easily eclipse his season scoring average. Monk hit eight of those, including five from 3-point range and all five of his free throws. He's got a nice head start on another SEC Player of the Week honor. 

BY THE NUMBERS:

7-3 - UK's lead in all-time series with A&M.

10th - Time UK has topped 90 points this season.

13 - Three-pointers by the Cats on 25 attempts.

15-3 - Run by the Cats to start the game. 

21-3 - Kentucky advantage in second-chance points.

23,455 - Attendance at Rupp Arena. 

QUOTABLE:

"Coach Cal has just stayed on us, stayed on me especially, about playing defense and getting easy buckets that way.” -- UK's Malik Monk.

UP NEXT:

Kentucky returms to action Saturday against Arkansas at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. 


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