The non-conference schedule has been kind to Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, who won their fourth straight against winless Albany 86-61 Monday night at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky, currently ranked 10th in the AP Poll, improved to 4-1 on the young season despite making 17 turnovers, and playing shorthanded with just eight scholarship players as Davion Mintz (illness), Jacob Toppin (shoulder) and Lance Ware (ankle) were all unavailable.
Leading 15-14 early on, Kentucky would go on a 10-0 run that included back-to-back three pointers from Ty Ty Washington and Kellan Grady to give the Wildcats a 25-14 lead at the 8:33 mark on its way to a 37-28 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Washington would hit another three to extend the lead to 51-37 with 12:31 remaining. Two free throws by Daimion Collins and a Brooks jumper would push the lead to 56-39 and another Grady three-pointer would give Kentucky a 59-39 lead with 8:57 left to play. Grady and Brooks connected on an alley-oop dunk with 5:00 minutes remaining to put an exclamation on the victory.
Washington led the Wildcats in scoring with a game-high points 20 points, while Keion Brooks had 17 points and eight rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler and Grady finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Oscar Tshiebwe finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds to record his fourth-straight double-double this season.
Kentucky shot 59 percent from the field in the opening half, the highest percentage on the young season. The Wildcats finished the game 32/59 for 54.2%.
Coming off SEC Freshman of the Week honors, Washington again proved that he’s Kentucky’s top offensive player, scoring 13 first-half points and picking up where he left off as Kentucky’s best rebounder from the guard spot.
The 6-foot-3 guard has been outstanding over the past four games, getting to the basket in transition, scoring off the dribble with an improved floater, and settling into his three-point shot to become a triple threat. Together, Washington and Wheeler combined for xx points on Monday night and continue to be the heart and soul of the offense.
Kentucky returns to action on Friday night at home against North Florida.