Sahvir Wheeler may be the “straw the stirs the drink” for the Kentucky Wildcats, but freshman TyTy Washington kept the glass full Saturday night, leading his team to a 92-77 win over the Georgia Bulldogs at Rupp Arena.
Taking over point guard duties for the injured Wheeler, Washington ran the offense to perfection and finished with 17 points and 17 assists to break the single-season record for assists held by former Kentucky great John Wall.
Georgia, who brought a 5-9 record to Lexington, came out swinging early in a competitive first half that included five ties and 10 lead changes. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field as Kentucky took a 40-37 halftime lead.
Kentucky ultimately turned up the heat in the second half as Tshiebwe finished with 29 points and 17 rebounds, while Davion Mintz came off the bench to score 19 points with five three-pointers.
TyTy Washington has certainly elevated his game of late and would be an easy choice for MVP honors. However, Georgia simply had no answer for Tshiebwe, who scored at will and finished with his 11th double-double to continue the early buzz for National Player of the Year consideration.
Washington and Tshiebwe showed off a potent pick-and-roll combination against the Bulldogs as the freshman guard showed his ability to get to the rim, hit the step-back jumper or find Big O for an easy basket. Washington finished with his own double-double and made just two turnovers in 36 minutes of action.
Tshiebwe, a 6-foot-9 transfer from West Virginia, leads the team in scoring at 15.2 point per game and is the nation’s top rebounder at 15.1 per game. Washington is coming off back-to-back weeks as SEC Freshman of the Week, an award he’s received three times this season, and will certainly be in the mix again next week.
Kentucky, 12-3, now travels to Nashville for a road game against Vanderbilt on Tuesday.