Both teams got off to slow starts in what was a high-intensity battle all throughout. Kentucky struggled to score in the first half, but they were able to keep the score close as they went into the break down 39-35.
In the second half, the lack of scoring came back to bite the Cats as TyTy Washington forced bad shot after bad shot in a very poor debut. Sahvir Wheeler gave the team a chance with his excellent play, especially in the first half, on his way to a double-double with 10 assists. Kellan Grady looked awesome in the first half but was only played sparingly at the start of the second half and couldn’t get back into a rhythm.
Kentucky fought, but it just wasn't enough in the end as the Duke freshmen dominated under the bright lights. On to the next one.
Next up, the Cats will return to Lexington to take on the Robert Morris Colonials on Friday night.
Oscar Tshiebwe was an absolute man in this game. Big O was a force on the glass and his motor never stops, despite foul trouble limiting him for a large portion of the game.
Tshiebwe doesn't take no for an answer when he’s down low trying to grab a rebound, especially on the offensive glass where he corralled 12 offensive boards. He isn't the tallest center in the game, but he has to be one of the toughest.
Big O finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds, while shooting 8-14 from the field. He made his only attempt from the line (yes, I know it’s incredible that someone as physical as he is in the paint only attempted one free throw). Oscar also added two blocks to the stat sheet.
All in all, it was an amazing performance by Big O. The team fought and while they didn't win, this isn't last year’s squad. There's a lot of good to take from this game, and I’m looking forward to watching another high-caliber Kentucky team.