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ASU Men’s Basketball: The Sun Devils can’t keep pace with the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats in blowout loss

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)

The Arizona State Sun Devils were routed by No. 1 Kentucky Monday in the Atlantis Showcase, as Kentucky’s stars shined in a 115-69 victory.

The game was never in doubt as Kentucky led by double figures six minutes into the game and had a commanding 58-30 halftime lead that allowed them to coast to an easy win.

Kentucky found scoring easy all night, as ASU’s defense looked simply outmatched and outmanned.

The Wildcats shot 53.1 percent from the field and hit 11 threes on the night. Six players scored in double figures for Kentucky (7-0) with star freshman guard Malik Monk leading the way.

Monk had a team-high 23 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe was right behind his teammate with 20 points on seven of nine shooting.

History was made by Kentucky freshman De’Aaron Fox (14 points, 10 assists, 11 rebounds) as he secured just the second triple-double in Kentucky’s history. The only other Wildcat with a triple-double was Chris Mills back in 1988.

That may be a positive sign for the Wildcats as they won a national championship that year as well.

ASU (4-3) on the other hand couldn’t get anything going all game, on either end of the floor. The Sun Devils shot just 34.2 percent from the floor and hit only eight threes.

Rebounding was once again an issue for ASU as the Sun Devils were outrebounded 33 to 60 by the clearly larger and stronger Wildcats. ASU severely struggled on the defensive glass, as 21 of Kentucky’s rebounds were offensive.

The Sun Devils also couldn’t match the speed and fluidity of Kentucky’s high-powered offense. ASU managed to total 15 assists compared to 33 for Kentucky, most of the latter coming in transition.

Kentucky got plenty of easy baskets, which lead to such a high assist total, while ASU labored to find any sort of rhythm against a stingy Kentucky defense.

ASU senior forward Obinna Oleka (14 points, 11 rebounds) was once again a bright spot for the Sun Devils, securing his forth double-double of the season. ASU freshman Sam Cunliffe was tied for the team high in points with 14, but shot just 25 percent on the night.

Cunliffe’s performance was indicative of much of the Sun Devil starting lineup, with all five players scoring in double figures, but Oleka was the only player who shot above 40 percent.

While the Sun Devil’s didn’t fair well in their toughest test of the season, there is no shame in being blown out by the best team in the country, and coach Bobby Hurley can use this loss to motivate his team as they continue this tough non-conference schedule.

ASU will next face UNLV at home on December 3 at 6 p.m. on the Pac-12 network.

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