BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the second time this season, the Kentucky men’s basketball team has swept the weekly Southeastern Conference awards. Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe and freshman Malik Monk were tabbed the player and freshman of the week, respectively, by the league’s office.
Briscoe and Monk made history and led the Cats to a 99-76 victory in UK’s SEC lidlifter at Ole Miss on Thursday, Dec. 29. It’s the first honor of the season for Briscoe and the third honor for Monk.
The 99 points scored were the most points ever by a John Calipari-coached squad in a true road game. The previous high was 90 at Indiana on Dec. 12, 2009.
Briscoe became the third player in program history – and second this season – to register a triple-double when he amassed 19 points, a career-high 11 assists and 10 rebounds in the win. After only having one triple-double in school history prior to this season, Briscoe and freshman De’Aaron Fox have now accounted for two in a seven-game span.
The duo is the only pair of teammates in the history of the SEC to have a triple-double in the same season.
Briscoe’s 10 rebounds marked the third time he has topped that plateau in his career and the first of the year. He’s scored in double figures in all but one game this season. Briscoe was efficient for the Cats, including a 6-for-6 performance at the free-throw line, a new-career best mark.
Monk has easily become the league’s most prolific scorer. He poured in 34 points against the Rebels on 11-of-16 shooting, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line.
The 34 points are the most a freshman has ever scored in program history on the road. He’s now scored 30 or more points twice this season, becoming just the second freshman in program history to achieve that feat. Jamal Murray had three such games a season ago.
Monk scores in a variety of ways and he’s reached double-digit scoring in all 13 contests this season. He’s also knocked down at least one 3-pointer in every game. He’s currently averaged 22.4 points per game, the best mark of any freshman in the country. No John Calipari-coached player has ever averaged more than 21.2 points for an entire season (Dajuan Wagner at Memphis in 2001-02). The 22.4 points per game is also the best of any freshman in college basketball this season.
This was the third time this season he has hit five or more 3-pointers. The seven made free throws is a new career best. He didn’t just contribute offensively, as told by his career-high-tying six rebounds and game-high three steals.
With this week’s honors, UK now has a league-leading seven SEC honors this season. This is the second time this season UK has swept both honors. The last time a team swept the awards twice in the same season was when UK turned the trick a season ago. On Feb. 15, 2016, Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray were the Player and Freshman of the Week, respectively, and then Murray and Skal Labissiere were the Player and Freshman of the Week winners in the final week of the season.
After nearly a month away from home, the Wildcats will return to Rupp Arena for a 9 p.m. tip against Texas A&M on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The game will air live on ESPN.