Kentucky 34 35 – 69
Michigan State 26 22 – 48
No. 2 Kentucky entered Tuesday’s game against No. 13 Michigan State with the question of who could consistently hit perimeter shots. Freshman Malik Monk answered the call, and that served as the catalyst for Kentucky as they beat the Spartans 69-48 at Madison Square Garden. Monk scored 23 points on the night, shooting 7-for-11 from beyond the arc, and Kentucky’s defense was too much for a Michigan State team that’s now 0-2 on the season.
Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges scored just six points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field, and while he did manage to grab 12 rebounds Bridges also committed nine turnovers. Kenny Goins and Cassius Winston scored nine points apiece to lead the Spartans, who shot a frigid 32.3 percent from the field and 5-for-26 from three. As for Kentucky, Isaiah Briscoe added 21 points and De’Aaron Fox 12, as their three guards thoroughly outplayed Michigan State’s perimeter players.
The first 20 minutes between No. 2 Kentucky and No. 13 Michigan State were, for the most part, controlled by the Wildcats. Freshman guard Malik Monk opened things up with some quality perimeter shooting, making his first four three-point attempts of the game. That was the big question mark for Kentucky: who would step forward and punish opponents for packing things in defensively to take away the Wildcats’ interior scoring options. Monk was known as more of a streak shooter in high school, so while the consistency wasn’t always there the athletic Arkansas native has been able to hit those shots.
Teammate Isaiah Briscoe added ten points in the first half, with his layup in the final seconds giving Kentucky an eight point lead. Michigan State’s biggest issue in the half was turnovers, as they committed 11 and were fortunate to trail by just eight points. Miles Bridges scored three points and was responsible for five of those 11 turnovers, and forward Kenny Goins led the way offensively with six points to go along with five rebounds.
Both teams shot less than 40 percent from the field in the first half, but Kentucky outscored Michigan State 8-1 from the foul line.