By LARRY VAUGHT
At my age the music in Rupp Arena is not always something I know a lot about.
But about four minutes into Tuesday night’s game with Texas A&M, the 1965 single by James Brown — “I Feel Good” — was playing and it could not have been more appropriate.
By then, Kentucky had a 15-3 lead with four minutes of spectacular basketball after A&M took a 3-0 lead. Malik Monk had two 3-pointers and 8 points. Kentucky forced six turnovers in four minutes and De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe had two assists each.
Kentucky’s speed after the A&M turnovers was astounding and the game was over by the time these James Brown lyrics had the crowd rocking even more:
“Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now I feel good, I knew that I would, now So good, so good, I got you
Whoa! I feel nice, like sugar and spice I feel nice, like sugar and spice So nice, so nice, I got you.”
Kentucky had Texas A&M by then, too. The final score was 100-56 after UK led 50-27 at halftime. Texas A&M hit just three of 14 shots and turned it over 12 times in the first 13 minutes as UK took advantage of the Aggies’ lack of an experienced point guard. The Aggies have their top two point guards injured and another one ineligible.
But also remember this — Texas A&M lost only 74-67 to UCLA and 67-63 to Arizona. You might remember that UCLA beat Kentucky and Arizona is also a highly touted team.
“We had not played anybody with guards like that. UCLA lets you run offense and the way they play defense is different than Kentucky. With our guards, we are going to struggle against this kind of pressure,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “When Malik gets going, I have seen it happen since he was a freshman.”
Monk had 26 points and was 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Fox had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds. Isaiah Briscoe came off his triple-double with 13 points and seven assists. He was 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Bam Adebayo added 10 points and three rebounds.
“If Briscoe is a weapon like he was today, they can win it all. I don’t know how you really defend them,” Kennedy said.
Kentucky was 33-for-63 from the field, 13-for-25 from 3-point range and 21-for-26 at the foul line. The defense also forced 25 turnovers.
“Their defensive pressure gave our young guards a lot of problems. I thought Briscoe and De’Aaron did a great job creating pressure and getting us out of offense. The turnovers just mounted up,” Kennedy said. “We just were not very good. Sometimes it looked like we just gave them the ball.
“Nothing really surprised me. I thought we would play much better. Kentucky, they are who they are. Coach Cal knows who he has and is coming at you full speed.”