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Bob Dixon

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Middlesboro, KY 40965

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Go Big Blue!

Fredrick leads UK to Victory over Missouri Western

By Jamie H. Vaught


LEXINGTON -- Kentucky began its 2022-23 campaign Sunday night when the fourth-ranked Wildcats stopped Missouri Western State 56-38 in an exhibition contest at Rupp Arena.


Leading UK was 6-foot-3 senior CJ Frederick, a Iowa transfer who gunned in a game-high 15 points, including 4 of 6 three-pointers. It was his first “unofficial” appearance as a Wildcat after sitting out last season with a hamstring injury.

Kentucky's CJ Fredrick shoots against MWS Sunday night. (UK Athletics Photo by Chet White)

“It felt awesome,” said Fredrick about playing for the first time in awhile. “Not playing in a year and a half, I put a lot of hard work into this moment. So, many thanks to all the trainers that have helped me this past year. It was a long year, but being able to get out there and compete again with this group, it was awesome. It was a blessing.”


Kentucky freshman Cason Wallace, who came off the bench to score nine points and grab a team-high seven rebounds, said the fans should see more of Fredrick’s shooting this season.


“(I) just expect more to go in for him,” added 6-foot-4 Wallace. “They were already going in, though. But he can make more. I believe he’ll make more during the season, so we’ll just keep giving it to him.”


For Kentucky, 6-foot-9 senior Jacob Toppin also landed in double figures with 10 points to go along with six rebounds. UK’s Ugonna Onyenso, a 6-foot-11 freshman, made an impact on the defensive end with five blocked shots.


Missouri Western was limited to 38 points, fewest in an exhibition game since a 74-28 win

over Transylvania in November 2012.


UK coach John Calipari had mixed feelings about his team’s performance. “We defended fairly well and scrambled pretty good, and I thought we were good enough,” said the coach. “But you can’t play offensively like we are in that game.”


The Wildcats hit 40.4 percent of their shots and made only 50 percent of their free throws (7 out 14).


Oscar Tshiebwe, the consensus national player of the year for the 2021-22 season, didn’t see action against MWS as he is still recovering from a minor knee surgery.


Senior guard Sahvir Wheeler injured his knee in the second half. “Hopefully Sahvir will be okay,” said Calipari.


The Wildcats will play another exhibition game on Thursday, Nov. 3 against Kentucky State at 7 p.m. on SEC Network+ before opening regular-season play. UK begins the regular season on Monday, Nov. 7, at home against Howard.

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