The 2021 Champions Classic is in the books, as the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats suffered a 79-71 loss to the No. 9 Blue Devils at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. It was likely the last game Duke’s legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski, will coach against the Wildcats.
The entire first half was tightly contested, as Duke took a narrow 39-35 into the halftime locker room.
However, the second half was a different story, as the Blue Devils pulled away by outscoring the Wildcats 40-36.
Oscar Tshiebwe led the Wildcats with a double-double that saw him grab 19 rebounds and score 17 points in an impressive UK debut. Sahvir Wheeler also had a strong Wildcat debut scoring 16 points.
Duke was led by their three-headed monster of Trevor Keels (25), Pablo Banchero (22) and Wendell Moore Jr (12), who all finished in double-figures.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the Cats’ opening night loss:
Still very optimistic. Duke is legit, and Kentucky has a ton of growing to do. Really looking forward to the season.— Jamie Boggs (@jamiewboggs) November 10, 2021
Kentucky ain't gonna shoot 37% from the field much this year. Nor will they have a 23-7 FT differential. Not worried. This team will be better than Duke and basically everyone else come March.— Bobby Reagan (@BarstoolReags) November 10, 2021
Mark Williams length sealed the deal.— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 10, 2021
Not mad at that. Duke really impressive. Going to be pretty fun season, I think— Jared Peck (@HLpreps) November 10, 2021
23-7 free throws. Hahahaha— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) November 10, 2021
Not fouling down six when Duke had to hit one-and-one free throws twice with just over a minute left was befuddling.— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) November 10, 2021
At UK Pro Day, Oscar Tshiebwe told me he wanted to average 20 rebounds a game this year. I laughed. I shouldn't have.— Tom Hart (@tom_hart) November 10, 2021
This Kentucky team is going to be so special. Duke is just further ahead at this moment of the season. Kentucky will be deadly come February, that is for sure.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) November 10, 2021
Banchero has no business playing college ball. Pistons could use him.— Jesse Riffe (@JesseRiffe) November 10, 2021
There are clearly a segment of UK fans angry tonight— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) November 10, 2021
I don’t really get why. I hate Duke and want to beat them. Losing to Duke sucks
But this team is good. And there is a lot to build on. TyTy plays like he will play in January and this comes down to the buzzer
I like my team
I’m not discouraged with what I saw from Kentucky. I’m confident they have a good group. Duke is going to be good, they have legit studs that can go get it when they want. I feel like Kentucky is a team that doesn’t know who they are just yet. They need TyTy to be good.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) November 10, 2021
Back at it Friday for the home opener pic.twitter.com/yibhM9e1Tl— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 10, 2021
Duke shot 51% to UK’s 38% and had 17 more FT’s. Only 8 point loss is pretty amazing. Thank Oscar for that and if Tyty we expect normally played tonight who knows?— Greg (@GregNJ) November 10, 2021
Mike Krzyzewski opens saying that was "a big-time game" and said the energy of the MSG crowd "felt so good." Praise for Kentucky's toughness. Says four of his guys cramped up and got IVs.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 10, 2021
"Wheeler is a problem for us. And Tshiebwe, 19 rebounds. John's got a really good team."
Oscar was wonderful. Wheeler was great when he didn't try too much. Mintz has great energy. Grady is money. Just need Tyty to figure things out and find a solution to the Oscar foul problem. https://t.co/JiAN1Whq7Y— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) November 10, 2021
I feel better going forward in the season now than I did before the game.— Things #BBN Likes (@ThingsBBNLikes) November 10, 2021
Rough night for TyTy Washington His teammates will continue to pick him up. On to the next one. pic.twitter.com/VjQvXAo3m5— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 10, 2021