Before his team’s clash with second-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo instructed the Spartans to pack in their defense, cut off all driving lanes and force the Wildcats to win with jump shots.
Malik Monk made Michigan State regret that strategy.
The streak-shooting freshman led Kentucky to a convincing 69-48 victory with a barrage of deep 3-pointers. Twenty-one of Monk’s game-high 23 points came from behind the arc including a trio of 3-pointers in the game’s opening seven minutes that helped the Wildcats seize control from the outset.
Most of Monk’s 3-pointers came via catch-and-shoot opportunities from all sorts of spots on the floor. Only once did Monk force a 3-pointer the whole night, a dribble pull-up heat check midway through the first half that went halfway down and came out.
Torrid shooting and savvy shot selection from Monk on a big stage at Madison Square Garden bodes well for Kentucky’s longterm outlook.
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