There was no hangover from the Duke loss, as the Kentucky Wildcats drilled Robert Morris 100-60 in the season opener on Friday night at Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats, 1-1, stayed with its starting line up of Sahvir Wheeler, TyTy Washington, Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks and Oscar Tshiebwe, who was once again a monster on the boards to record his second straight 20-rebound game.
Tshiebwe, who has been vocal about his goal to average 20 rebounds a game had 17 points and 20 against Duke and finished with 14 points and 20 rebounds against Robert Morris.
Grady led the Wildcats with 19 points, follow by Tshiebwe and Collins with 14 each. Mintz and Brooks added 13 points, respectively, while Washington finished with 10.
For those keeping an eye on substitution patterns, Collins was the first player off the bench (17:12) followed by Mintz (15:05), and Hopkins (14:28). Lance Ware and Dontaie Allen also saw action in the first half as the Wildcats led 46-30 at halftime.
Two Wildcats were sidelined on Friday night as Jacob Toppin rested a shoulder injury while Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick was on crutches from a reported hamstring injury. Fredrick, who led Covington Catholic to a state title as a senior, has yet to make his debut in a Wildcat uniform after missing the pre-season due to leg surgery.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday night at home against the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers.
Tshiebwe is simply a freak athlete who looks like a modern-day Moses Malone under the basket. He’s light on his feet, has great anticipation and fights for every ball. The 6-foot-9 forward is sure to dominate the MVP category each game and could chase down a long-standing UK record that was once thought untouchable - most rebounds in a single game. That record belongs to two players - Bill Spivey (1950-51) and Bob Burrow (1955-56) - who both grabbed 34 rebounds during the 1950s.
MVP (Other than Oscar Tshiebwe)
Kellan Grady showed off his scoring ability against Robert Morris, going 4-for-6 from three-point range as he’s become more settled in John Calipari’s dribble-drive offense. Mintz, Wheeler, Brooks, and Allen also hit three-pointers as the Wildcats finished the game 12-for-23 and dominated Robert Morris on both ends of the floor.
The real MVP of the night was Max Schlueter, a UK student who nailed a half-court shot during a media timeout in the first half to win $10,000 from Central Bank.