The Kentucky Wildcats picked up their second win of the season on Friday night, as they raced past the Duquesne Dukes, 77-52.
Duquesne slowed the Cats down early in the first half, and played some stifling defense for a few minutes to start the game. But after a loose ball turned into a CJ Fredrick three, Kentucky put the pedal to the metal on offense to jump out to a 38-22 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Once again a huge talking point in the first half though is the defense. For what many thought would be a team that struggled defensively early this season, they impressed once again holding the Dukes to 25% shooting from the field in the half.
The second half mirrored the first in numbers ways, as the Dukes defense locked down the Cats in the first few minutes of the half, cutting the lead to nine before a quick timeout by John Calipari. From that point on Kentucky took control once again, flexing their muscles on offense from all three levels to propel them to a 25-point win.
You can't talk about tonight’s win without mentioning the season debut of Sahvir Wheeler. After some talk of how could him and Cason Wallace play together, Wheeler stepped in and shut that talk down quickly. He finished the night with 11 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Quite a performance from the senior point-guard.
The Cats will now head to Indianapolis for a matchup with Michigan State on Tuesday in the Champions Classic.
Now, let's take a look at some highlights from Twitter after tonight’s win.
Sahvir Wheeler makes his season debut, Rupp Arena crowd goes crazy— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 12, 2022
Fadeaway jumper from Ugonna Onyenso, who has 6 points in 2 minutes. 3-for-3 from the floor. https://t.co/9R4vUUmTCc— Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL) November 12, 2022
I love the role of veteran enforcer for Lance Ware but just not sure how he gets minutes when Oscar returns. Onyenso has to be out there.— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) November 12, 2022
Pretty cool: The coal mining father that John Calipari reached out to after the Blue-White scrimmage is in attendance tonight with the VIP tickets sent by the program, directly behind Kentucky’s bench with his entire family.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) November 12, 2022
Guys, I think as good as Cason Wallace is, Sahvir Wheeler might still be really, really, really valuable to Kentucky.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 12, 2022
Wheeler with 4 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds in 5 minutes. Turned on the turbos, finished, created, smothered dudes on defense. He's pretty good.
SHOOT ‘EM ALL, ANTONIO!!!!— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) November 12, 2022
Shoutout to Coach Chin Coleman who clearly has the Duquesne scout tonight.— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) November 12, 2022
Making a real impact on the game as he calls out the Dukes actions as they happen for the ‘Cats defensively. This stuff MATTERS!
I’ve been critical of UK’s scouting in the past. It improved w/ changes.
October 24: @UKCoachCalipari asks Big Blue Nation to help find a coal miner who was at a preseason game with his son— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) November 12, 2022
November 11: Hosts Michael McGuire and his family at Rupp Arena for the second game of the @KentuckyMBB season pic.twitter.com/PIeTVJgOVM
The “Y” tonight is Kentucky coal miner Michael McGuire, who has several family members with him. Huge ovation from crowd. He’s the one who touched Calipari’s heart when he came straight to the Blue-White Game in Pikeville in his work clothes to be there with his son.— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) November 12, 2022
Michael McGuire, the coal miner who went viral during the Blue-White game is getting the VIP experience tonight, as promised by @UKCoachCalipari.— Mitch Brown FOX 56 (@MitchBTV_) November 12, 2022
Was just spotlighted on court with his family during a timeout. #BBN @FOX56News pic.twitter.com/C0YHlWrE9O
John Calipari said it'll be tough to zone Kentucky with shooters like the Cats have.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 12, 2022
Duquesne went zone and it has brought UK to a grinding halt. Cats 2 of 11 shooting, 6 turnovers, 2 assists this half. Lead is 11 with 11 minutes to go.
Reminder: CJ Fredrick is an elite 3-point shooter.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) November 12, 2022
Now up to three makes from deep, 11 points overall (with three assists and two rebounds)
Helping Kentucky blow this game open in the second half
Sahvir Wheeler in his season debut: 10 assists, 2 turnovers. Kentucky is plus-25 in his 23 minutes.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 12, 2022
Sahvir Wheeler cracks a double-double in his first game back with plenty of time to spare. 11 points and 10 assists. Major asset to this team.— Tres Terrell (@TerrellTres) November 12, 2022
Sahvir Wheeler is tonight’s Kentucky +/- champ at +32— Jeff Drummond (@JDrumUK) November 12, 2022
Antonio Reeves so far at Kentucky:— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) November 12, 2022
Bahamas (4 exhibitions): 14 of 27 3s (51.9%), 17.0 ppg
Preseason (Blue-White + 2 exhib): 10 of 26 3s (38.4%), 18.3 ppg
Regular-season (2 games): 10 of 18 3s (55.5%), 20 ppg
Dude is 34 of 71 (48.9%) from 3 in nine live-action UK appearances.
Antonio Reeves and CJ Fredrick through 2 games:— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) November 12, 2022
16 of 30 3PFG (53.3%)
Ugonna Onyenso on postgame UK radio with Jack Givens.— Cameron Drummond (@cdrummond97) November 12, 2022
Givens asks what Onyenso wants to be called for people who struggle to say his name.
"Just call me Ugo."
Ugo is tied for 3rd in blocks through first two career UK games— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) November 12, 2022
Anthony Davis (2011-12) - 12
Perry Stevenson (2006-07) - 11
Rodney Dent (1992-93) - 7
Ugonna Onyenso (2022-23) - 7 pic.twitter.com/j20H2N9wpx