Ken­tucky fresh­men find groove


As top-ranked Ken­tucky de­vel­ops in small steps, the on-court re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ma­lik Monk and De’Aaron Fox is clearly off and run­ning.

Monk scored 23 points and Fox had 16 points and 11 as­sists to pro­pel the Wild­cats to a 101-70 rout of Cleve­land State on Wed­nes­day in Lex­ing­ton, Ky.

With lead­ing scorer Isaiah Briscoe side­lined by a back in­jury, the fresh­man duo picked up the slack and did it quickly, help­ing Ken­tucky (5-0) roll to a 16-2 lead that was never threat­ened in its first game this sea­son as the na­tion’s No. 1 team. They com­bined for 31 firsthalf points with 19 from Monk, whose 4-for-4 start from long range and 8-of-12 shoot­ing over­all helped him match his ca­reer scor­ing best set last week against Michi­gan State.

“We played well,” Fox said. “With­out Isaiah today, peo­ple stepped up and we ended up get­ting the win.”

The fresh­men com­bined for 15 as­sists — in­clud­ing 10 in the first half — and seven re­bounds with two steals apiece, look­ing to each other when Ken­tucky was in tran­si­tion.

Which was of­ten.

“We have great chem­istry,” Monk said. “Although we never played that much to­gether, we know where we are on the court. That’s an­other thing that makes this team so close.”

Their chem­istry was ev­i­dent in the first half when Monk stole the ball near mid­court and drove to­ward the bas­ket be­fore bounc­ing the ball off the glass per­fectly back to the trail­ing Fox, whose thun­der­ous dunk brought a roar from the crowd of 22,441 at Rupp Arena. UConn loses for­ward: Con­necti­cut sopho­more for­ward Terry Lar­rier is out for the rest of the sea­son af­ter tear­ing his left ACL at the Maui In­vi­ta­tional.

The Huskies said Lar­rier will con­sult with doc­tors about a time frame for surgery and that re­cov­ery is about eight months.

Lar­rier was in­jured mid­way through the first half against Ok­la­homa State on Mon­day night when he was stripped of the ball on a drive. He was un­able to put any weight on his leg and stopped by the Huskies’ hud­dle to yell en­cour­age­ment be­fore be­ing helped to the locker room.

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