Freshman guard De-Aaron Fox drives the ball down the lane during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 85-58. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.
Phillip Hawkins | March 4, 2017
Closing out its regular season No. 9 UK men’s basketball defeated Texas A&M in College Station with a final score of 71-63. The Cats had to come from behind once again, erasing a 15-point deficit that they faced in the first half.
It was a slow start for the Cats as they were trailing 19-4 to a hot shooting Aggies team. After coming back from a 19 point deficit in their last game against Vanderbilt, the Cats came back from being down 15.
Scoring 32 points in the first half, the Cats were led by their senior guard Dominique Hawkins as he scored eight points along tallying with three assists. Shooting a low 38 percent from the field as a team, Hawkins was able to be an energizer for the Cats when they were in trouble.
Texas A&M was led by their sophomore guard Admon Gilder as he scored a game-high 22 points while picking up 5 rebounds. Gilder was aided by the Aggies’ duo of big men, Tyler Davis and Robert Williams. Williams had a double-double racking up 20 points and 13 rebounds, six of which were offensive, while Davis had 11 points and eight rebounds. After this loss the Aggies fall to 16-14 closing out the regular season and 8-10 in conference play.
The Cats were led by their guard De’Aaron Fox as he scored a team-high 19 points, scoring 15 in the second half. It was also a big game for the senior Derek Willis as he scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds. After a quiet game for Willis against Vanderbilt he was able to knock down shots on a day when Malik Monk struggled.
Monk had his lowest scoring game of the season, only totaling six points. Monk was able to impact other parts of the game grabbing five rebounds and dishing out three assists. Until this game Monk had scored double digits in points every game on the season.
Bam Adebayo played another big game for the Cats as he had 13 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. He played well in what seemed to be a big man competition between him and the big men on Texas A&M. The leadership of Isaiah Briscoe was huge for UK as well. He played an all-around game scoring seven points while dishing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds.
With this win, UK secures its 48th SEC regular season title, which is number one in the SEC. The next closest titles in the conference is LSU with 10. This also makes it five regular season conference titles in eight years under head coach John Calipari. He is the first Division I coach to win five regular season titles at three different schools.
After the win over the Aggies the Cats improve their record 26-5, closing out the regular season atop of the conference with a record of 16-2. The Cats are now preparing to get ready for the SEC tournament but more importantly the NCAA tournament which starts March 14th.