Backcourt helps #2 Kentucky run past Canisius, 93-69

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Isaiah Briscoe and De'Aaron Fox each scored a career-high 21 points, Malik Monk added 16 and No. 2 Kentucky pulled away from Canisius early in the second half for a 93-69 victory Sunday night.

Briscoe topped his previous high of 20 last December at UCLA behind 9-of-13 shooting that helped Kentucky (2-0) rally from a seven-point first half deficit to build a 44-35 halftime advantage.

Freshmen and fellow guards Fox and Monk combined to shoot 11 of 24 en route to career scoring bests in their short careers, while 6-foot-10 newcomer Bam Adebayo had 14 points and 11 rebounds a game after a foul-plagued debut on Friday.

Kentucky shot 51 percent from the field.

Kassius Robertson had 16 points, Jermaine Crumpton 13 and Phil Valenti 12 for Canisius (0-1) in the coaching debut of Reggie Witherspoon. The Golden Griffins initially pushed the pace and had Kentucky reacting but had no answer for the Wildcats' backcourt.

THE BIG PICTURE

Canisius: Solid shooting initially helped the Golden Griffins, who made 46 percent in the first half and played Kentucky nearly even on the boards (39-36). But they committed 18 turnovers leading to 29 Kentucky points and cooled off to 37 percent shooting after the break and finished 42 percent overall.

Kentucky: The Wildcats also shot a respectable 46 percent in the first half behind Briscoe's 7-of-8 performance and had some nice ball movement between the guards down the stretch. They were less generous with the ball compared to the opener, finishing with just 10 assists on 31 baskets.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Next week might provide a different answer as Kentucky steps up the competition Tuesday night against No. 12 Michigan State at the Champions Classic in New York.

UP NEXT

Canisius: Visits Cleveland State on Tuesday night in the second game of the Bluegrass Showcase, an event that also features Duquesne, Cleveland State and UT Martin playing games at campus sites.

Kentucky: Faces Michigan State on Tuesday in New York. The schools last met in the same event two years ago in Chicago, a 78-74 Spartans victory that brought them within 12-11 in the series.

© 2017 Associated Press


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