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Diallo scores 23, No. 8 Kentucky beats Monmouth 93-76

NEW YORK (AP) During a recent practice, Kentucky coach John Calipari noticed freshman guard Hamidou Diallo was pulling his hand back after launching jump shots.

The technique worried Calipari, so as he recalled, he forced the New York City product to ''keep his follow through.''

Based on what transpired at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, coach knows best.

''He's trying to do what we're asking him to do,'' Calipari said after Diallo scored a season-high 23 points and No. 8 Kentucky beat Monmouth 93-76. ''Less is more for him.''

Kentucky (8-1) won its sixth in a row. PJ Washington added 20 points, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander chipped in 15 and Nick Richards had 10.

''We're better,'' Calipari said, before adding, ''We're still not capable of going 40 minutes.''

While Kentucky is creating positive momentum ahead of conference play, Monmouth (3-7) has lost three straight. Deion Hammond led the Hawks with 19 points and Micah Seaborn had 18.

''It doesn't feel great,'' Monmouth coach King Rice said. ''You got beat by a bigger and better team.''

Diallo, in his first season, helped the Wildcats take a 54-31 halftime lead.

''This is my first time playing in the Garden,'' Diallo said. ''Coming from New York, it's every kid's dream ... to play in The Garden.''

With the outcome essentially decided, Kentucky continued attacking in the second half and extended its lead to 29. In one sequence, Wildcats center Richards dunked, and then Diallo forced Sam Ibiezugbe to miss a layup before bringing the ball downcourt and knocking down a jumper.

Later, Wenyen Gabriel followed up Kevin Knox's missed straightaway 3-pointer with a two-handed putback jam. Despite those plays, as both Calipari and Rice noted, Monmouth outscored Kentucky 45-39 in the second half.

''I am proud of my kids,'' Rice said. ''As coach (Calipari) pointed out, `You beat us in the second half.' I am proud because my kids kept fighting, and when it's Kentucky and they come with All-American players when they were in high school, you could get discouraged, but our kids did not get discouraged.''

Among the 10,438 in attendance for the first-ever meeting between the programs were New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and newly hired manager Aaron Boone. The duo sat courtside, next to NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.

''I talked to them after (the game). We talked trades and some different things. (Shohei Ohtani) went to the Angels. I said, `Hey, we're fine,''' Calipari said of his chat with Cashman and Boone, which led to a question about whether the trio discussed the Yankees' reported trade for reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

''We talked about Stanton. We're going to get that one done. We're going to get that one,'' Calipari said. ''You understand I'm a Yankee fan. A Pirate fan, too, because I grew up in Pittsburgh.''

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: Calipari has bemoaned his Wildcats' lack of maturity in the early portion of the season. While his team has begun with eight wins in nine games, Kentucky has shown flaws that SEC rivals can exploit. The Wildcats committed 19 turnovers against overmatched Monmouth.

Monmouth: The Hawks committed 15 turnovers while shooting just 37.1 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from 3-point range.

NOTABLE

Kentucky: Among the criticisms of Calipari's teams has been their inability to convert free throws. The Wildcats began this game making 66.8 percent of their attempts, ranked 265th in the nation. Against Monmouth, Kentucky went 24 of 32 (75 percent) from the line.

Monmouth: Rice used 14 players. Seaborn and Austin Tilghman led Monmouth with 32 minutes each.

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Hosts Virginia Tech next Saturday.

Monmouth: Plays at Princeton on Tuesday night.

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Key Players
A. Tilghman
23 G
K. Knox
5 F
35.3 Min. Per Game 35.3
16.6 Pts. Per Game 16.6
1.6 Ast. Per Game 1.6
5.9 Reb. Per Game 5.9
39.4 Field Goal % 45.3
12.5 Three Point % 32.6
71.4 Free Throw % 69.2
+ 3 Dan Pillari made 3-pt. jump shot 3.0
+ 2 Nick Richards made dunk, assist by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 12.0
+ 2 Sam Ibiezugbe made dunk, assist by George Papas 32.0
+ 2 Nick Richards made jump shot 47.0
+ 3 Deion Hammond made 3-pt. jump shot 1:05
  Defensive rebound by Melik Martin 1:11
  Kevin Knox missed layup, blocked by Pierre Sarr 1:13
+ 2 Zac Tillman made layup 1:35
  Offensive rebound by Monmouth 1:46
  Deion Hammond missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:48
+ 2 Hamidou Diallo made layup 2:05
Team Stats
Points 76 93
Field Goals 26-70 (37.1%) 31-58 (53.4%)
3-Pointers 10-29 (34.5%) 7-19 (36.8%)
Free Throws 14-18 (77.8%) 24-32 (75.0%)
Total Rebounds 34 44
Offensive 14 13
Defensive 17 30
Team 3 1
Assists 20 20
Steals 10 7
Blocks 2 8
Turnovers 15 19
Fouls 21 18
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST
23 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo Monmouth 3-7 314576
home team logo 8 Kentucky 8-1 543993
Team Stats
away team logo Monmouth 3-7 65.3 PPG 35.1 RPG 10.8 APG
home team logo 8 Kentucky 8-1 75.8 PPG 40.9 RPG 13.5 APG
Key Players
3
D. Hammond G 11.8 PPG 2.1 RPG 0.9 APG 38.1 FG%
00
H. Diallo G PPG RPG APG FG%
Top Scorers
D. Hammond G 19 PTS 3 REB 1 AST
H. Diallo G 23 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
37.1 FG% 53.4
34.5 3PT FG% 36.8
77.8 FT% 75.0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Seaborn 18 5 3 5/14 4/10 4/4 1 32 2 0 3 2 3
R. Salnave 7 3 5 2/9 0/2 3/4 3 19 3 0 2 0 3
A. Tilghman 6 1 3 3/8 0/2 0/0 1 32 3 0 0 0 1
D. Quinn 4 2 0 1/4 0/0 2/3 1 10 0 1 2 1 1
M. Traore 3 0 0 1/1 0/0 1/2 2 10 0 0 1 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Seaborn 18 5 3 5/14 4/10 4/4 1 32 2 0 3 2 3
R. Salnave 7 3 5 2/9 0/2 3/4 3 19 3 0 2 0 3
A. Tilghman 6 1 3 3/8 0/2 0/0 1 32 3 0 0 0 1
D. Quinn 4 2 0 1/4 0/0 2/3 1 10 0 1 2 1 1
M. Traore 3 0 0 1/1 0/0 1/2 2 10 0 0 1 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Hammond 19 3 1 7/16 4/11 1/1 3 24 0 0 0 1 2
S. Ibiezugbe 8 2 1 4/5 0/0 0/0 3 11 0 0 1 2 0
P. Sarr 4 4 2 1/1 1/1 1/2 2 9 0 0 2 3 1
D. Pillari 3 0 1 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Z. Tillman 2 6 2 1/5 0/0 0/0 3 20 1 0 4 1 5
L. Pillari 2 0 0 0/0 0/0 2/2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
M. McClary 0 1 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 1 0
M. Martin 0 4 1 0/2 0/0 0/0 2 16 1 1 0 3 1
G. Papas 0 0 1 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 8 0 0 0 0 0
N. Rutherford - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 76 31 20 26/70 10/29 14/18 21 200 10 2 15 14 17
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
H. Diallo 23 4 1 8/13 1/2 6/10 2 30 2 0 1 1 3
P. Washington 20 6 1 5/8 1/2 9/9 2 32 0 4 3 2 4
N. Richards 10 8 0 5/7 0/0 0/0 3 18 0 1 2 4 4
Q. Green 9 3 5 4/6 1/2 0/0 2 16 0 0 1 1 2
K. Knox 4 5 4 1/9 1/5 1/2 2 31 1 0 7 1 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
H. Diallo 23 4 1 8/13 1/2 6/10 2 30 2 0 1 1 3
P. Washington 20 6 1 5/8 1/2 9/9 2 32 0 4 3 2 4
N. Richards 10 8 0 5/7 0/0 0/0 3 18 0 1 2 4 4
Q. Green 9 3 5 4/6 1/2 0/0 2 16 0 0 1 1 2
K. Knox 4 5 4 1/9 1/5 1/2 2 31 1 0 7 1 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Gilgeous-Alexander 15 6 9 4/8 2/4 5/6 1 32 1 0 3 1 5
W. Gabriel 8 4 0 3/5 1/3 1/3 3 23 1 3 0 1 3
T. Wynyard 4 6 0 1/1 0/0 2/2 3 12 2 0 2 2 4
J. David - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Pulliam - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Calipari 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 0 1
S. Killeya-Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Baker - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Vanderbilt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 93 43 20 31/58 7/19 24/32 18 200 7 8 19 13 30