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UK POSTGAME NOTES: Former Cat Boss Tubby Smith Honored at Rupp Arena


Former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith waves to the Rupp Arena crowd before UK's victory over High Point Friday afternoon. (SEC Media Photo)

UK MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTGAME NOTES HIGH POINTS at KENTUCKY RUPP ARENA AT CENTRAL BANK CENTER | LEXINGTON, KY. DEC. 31, 2021

ATTENDANCE: 19,735

Final Score: No. 18/17 Kentucky 92, High Point 48

Team Records, Series Notes, Etc.

· Kentucky won its fourth straight game to move to 11-2 this season. High Point fell to 6-8 in 2021-22.

· The Wildcats are now 4-0 all-time vs. High Point and 4-0 vs. the Panthers in Lexington, Kentucky.

· Kentucky improved to 10-0 in Rupp Arena this season and extended its home winning streak to 11 games, which dates back to last season.

· Prior to the game, current HPU head coach and former UK head coach Orlando “Tubby” Smith had a jersey retired in his honor. Smith was the head coach of the Wildcats for 10 years, from the 1997-98 season through the 2006-07 campaign. Under Smith, UK won the 1998 national championship, five regular-season Southeastern Conference championships and five SEC Tournament crowns. He is the 44th jersey to be added to the rafters.

· The announced attendance Sunday was 19,735, the second-biggest crowd of the season, behind the 20,221 fans for the Western Kentucky game.

· Next up: Kentucky returns to conference play on Tuesday when it travels to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to face LSU. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.


Team Notes

· Kentucky limited High Point to 48 points, the fewest points the Wildcats have allowed since holding Morehead State to 45 points in the 2020-21 season opener on Nov. 25, 2020.

o UK remains a perfect 82-0 under Calipari when holding the opposition to 55 points or fewer, including 3-0 this season. The Wildcats are also 197-9 under Calipari when holding the opponent to 63 points or fewer, including 9-0 this season.

· The Wildcats were 39 of 66 from the field Friday afternoon, a season-high 59.1%. That’s their best shooting mark since making 64.2% of their attempts vs. Alabama on March 10, 2018, in the SEC Tournament.

· Kentucky made 10 of 26 3-pointers, the second time UK has made at least 10 treys this season. The Wildcats are 4-0 this season when making eight or more 3-pointers.

· UK held High Point to 19 of 61 from the floor, 31.1%. That’s the Wildcats’ best defensive field-goal percentage of the season and the best since Kansas shot 29.9% on Dec. 1, 2020, in last season’s Champions Classic.

o The last three Kentucky opponents have been held to 32.8% shooting or lower.

o The Wildcats improved to 217-24 under Calipari when they hold the opposition to 40% or less and 8-0 this season when holding the opponent below 40% from the field.

· Kentucky recorded 10 steals, its second time this season with double-figure swipes, and scored 18 points off 16 HPU turnovers.

· The Wildcats dominated High Point in virtually every phase of the game, including points in the paint (44-12), second-chance points (17-4), fast-break points (20-4) and bench points (28-8).

· The Wildcats led by as many as 45 points in the second half. UK is 297-12 in the Calipari era when leading by at least 10 points at any time in the contest.

· UK dished out 23 assists, the fifth time this season with 20 or more assists. Kentucky is a perfect 5-0 in those games.

· Even without a player in double-figure rebounding for only the second time this season, UK outrebounded High Point 45-27. The nation’s No. 1 team in rebounding margin has outrebounded its opponents by at least 14 in all 11 wins this season.

Kellan Grady of Kentucky (SEC Media Photo)

Player Notes

· Kellan Grady tied his season high with 23 points in 24 minutes of action after hitting a career-high-tying seven 3-pointers (on 10 attempts).

o It was his seventh game with three or more 3-pointers and the third time in the last four games.

o He has made 20 of 31 treys over the last four games and 25 of 45 over the last six games.

· TyTy Washington Jr., the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, just missed out on a double-double with 15 points and a career-high nine assists.

o Washington has dished out 31 assists over the last six games.

o He is averaging a team-high 15.2 points and shooting 53.5% in Kentucky’s 11 wins this season.

o Excluding the season opener he is shooting 52.9% from the field.

· Oscar Tshiebwe, who collected multiple national player of the week honors in addition to Co-SEC Player of the Week distinction this week, recorded 15 points and eight rebounds.

o After his Rupp Arena record 28 rebounds vs. Western Kentucky and 20 vs. Missouri on Wednesday, he has grabbed 56 boards over the last three games.

o It was just the second time the nation’s leading rebounder has been limited to double-figure boards (he did not play the final 11:32 of game time).

· Sahvir Wheeler, who entered Wednesday’s game ranked second nationally in assists per game (7.8), recorded another seven on Friday.

o It was his 11th game this season with at least six dimes this season.

· Keion Brooks Jr. contributed nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.

· Davion Mintz added 10 points. It marked the third time this season he’s reached double figures and first since a 12-point outing against Ohio on Nov. 19.

· Brennan Canada, Zan Payne and Kareem Watkins all played a career-high three minutes.


Coach Calipari

· John Calipari is now 350-95 at UK.

· Calipari now has a 795-235 all-time on-court record.

· UK improved to 286-56 under Calipari in games vs. unranked Associated Press competition.

· Calipari notched his first victory vs. High Point in his first career game against the program.

· The Wildcats are 198-17 in Rupp Arena under Calipari’s watch, including 176-11 vs. unranked AP foes.

· Kentucky improved to 104-6 at home vs. nonconference foes in Rupp Arena under Calipari.


In the First Half

· Kentucky started Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington Jr., Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe for the 12th time this season and the sixth game in a row. UK is now 10-2 with that starting lineup.

· Washington opened the game with a 3-pointer on the first possession, the 10th time in the last 11 games he has hit a 3-pointer.

· Jacob Toppin checked in at 13:47 for UK’s first sub.

· High Point hung close for a while. Grady’s second 3-pointer of the half capped a brief 6-0 run to put the Wildcats up 20-14 midway through the stanza.

· UK pulled in front by double figures for the first time at 32-22 with a 6-0 run in under a minute late in the first half. Washington capped the run with a jumper that followed the Wildcats’ first forced 10-second backcourt violation of the season.

· Kentucky took its biggest lead of the half at 43-25 with an 11-0 stretch leading into halftime. Tshiebwe and Grady put the exclamation points on the run. First, Wheeler dropped a bounce pass on the fastbreak for a two-hand Tshiebwe dunk, and then Grady picked off a pass seconds later and drove around his man for a one-hand slam.

· Washington starred in the first half with 10 points (on 4-of-6 shooting) to go along with six assists.

· Tshiebwe added nine points and five rebounds, Grady scored eight points, and Brooks enjoyed an all-around solid first half with six points and five boards.

· Making five straight field goals to end the half and eight of their last nine, the Wildcats made 18 of 31 shots in the first half, 58.1%.


In the Second Half

· UK opened the second half with the same starting five as the first half: Wheeler, Washington, Grady, Brooks and Tshiebwe.

· After High Point scored the first points of the second half, Kentucky – ignited by a red-hot Grady – got back on track. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Grady put the Wildcats up 53-34 with 15:46 to go.

o Grady’s six points ignited a 14-0 run over 2:35 of game time to increase the Wildcats’ advantage to 61-34 at the 14:05 mark.

· Grady made another set of back-to-back 3-pointers to get the score to 67-37 with 13:11 left. At that point he was 5 of 6 from long range less than seven minutes into the second half

· The runs kept coming. A 17-0 stretch midway through the second half – primarily with UK’s bench in the game – put the Wildcats up 84-39 at the under-8 timeout.

· The Wildcats outscored High Point 49-23 in the second half.

· UK shot 21 of 35 in the second half, 60.0%.

· Grady led the Wildcats with 15 points in the stanza.

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