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Cats Whip Kentucky State 111-53

By Jamie H. Vaught

Kentucky was simply too much for Kentucky State as the short-handed Wildcats triumph in an 111-53 blowout in an exhibition contest Thursday night at Rupp Arena.

UK starters Oscar Tshiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler sat out the contest with minor injuries while sophomore Daimion Collins went home in Texas to be with his family as his father passed away. The school held a pre-game moment of silence for Collins.

Ugonna Onyenso (UK Athletics Photo)

Leading the offensive attack were Kentucky seniors Antonio Reeves and Jacob Toppin who hit 23 and 21 points, respectively. Reeves made 7 of 14 three-pointers while Toppin was perfect from the line, hitting all seven free throws.

Four other standouts CJ Fredrick, Chris Livingston, Cason Wallace and Lance Ware also scored in double figures for the Cats, who gunned in 38 of 76 shots for 50 percent.

Said Ware on team's shooting against Kentucky State, "“It’s what we’re used to seeing. First game we didn’t make many shots. Antonio can really shoot the ball, we know that. CJ can obviously shoot the ball. We just made shots tonight. It

always helps when you make shots.”

Six-foot-11 freshman Ugonna Onyenso was impressive on the boards, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds while blocking four shots in only 18 minutes of action. Ware also had nine rebounds. UK’s defense created problems for Kentucky State which shot an ice-cold 28.2 percent.

In addition to scoring, Frederick and Wallace had six and five assists, respectively.

UK will open its 2022-23 campaign on Monday night against Howard at Rupp Arena. The game will be televised by SEC Network, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Coach John Calipari doesn't believe Tshiebwe will be ready for next week's games, including Friday night's home matchup with Duquesne.

"I would be stunned if he played Monday," he said. "I would be somewhat surprised if he played Friday. But it's mainly a pain threshold. And he's just not normal. If he wanted to play Monday, I probably wouldn't let him. He needs a few more days. If he wants to play Friday, I'm going to have to work him out myself and see. And if I did, he would probably play 10 or 15 minutes, just to get his legs under him."

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