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Kentucky throttles Kentucky State: 5 things to know and postgame banter

Antonio Reeves leads the way for a big (blue) Kentucky win in the Cats’ final exhibition game.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri Western State at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats ran right past the Kentucky State Thorobreds on Thursday night in their second and final exhibition game by a score of 111-53.

Kentucky held nothing back as they dominated from start to finish. Even without multiple starters, this game looked much different than the 56-38 win over Missouri Western State on Sunday.

In fact, the Cats scored more in the first half alone they did in the entire first exhibit game. Kentucky led 61-25 at the break, and even Brennan Canada got a few minutes of playing time.

After the break, Kentucky slowed down a bit, but it was an impressive showing regardless. A nice bounce back for the Cats.

Next up, the Cats are on to their first regular season game as they take on the Howard Bison in Lexington on Monday night.

New starting five

Kentucky came out with a new starting five in this with Cason Wallace, CJ Fredrick, Chris Livingston, Jacob Toppin, and Lance Ware. I’m sure this is one of many starting lineups we see early in the season as Cal tries to figure out which guys belong in the starting rotation.

Unfortunately, there was a reason for this one. The Cats have been depleted early now with injuries as Oscar Tshiebwe continues to rehab a knee injury that required minor surgery. Sahvir Wheeler injured himself in the first exhibition game and was also not available tonight. And sadly, Daimion Collins returned home to Texas as his family deals with unexpected loss of his father this week.

The injury timelines are unclear at this point as it was expected Tshiebwe would be back for the season opener, but Cal wouldn't commit to that in the pregame tonight. Wheeler is also expected to be questionable for Monday. And I'm sure Collins has been told to take as much time as he needs.

Never look back

Well, that was fun, wasn't it? Kentucky got off to a fast start, and they never looked back. They jumped out to a 32-8 early lead and led by as many as 40 points before halftime.

As mentioned above, UK scored more in the first half in this one than they did in the entire game last time out. This is the offense and pace we should expect to see. Maybe not 61 points in a half, but they should be able to put up 80 points per game.

And with the way this team can defend, they might not be looking back in many games this season.

Reeves is not shy

If there’s one thing I can say for certain, it’s this: Antonio Reeves is not shy. The senior transfer from the Illinois State Redbirds dominated to earn MVP honors on the Big Blue Bahamas trip this August, but his first exhibition game left a lot to be desired.

That wasn't the case in this one. Reeves bounced back with a big performance as he led all scorers in the game. Reeves averaged 20.1 points per game on 39 percent shooting from downtown in his junior season for the Redbirds. It looks like that shooting has traveled to Lexington.

Reeves knocked down a handful of deep balls in this one. His ability to create off the dribble at his size makes him look like a more versatile Kellan Grady, which is good news for the Cats. Couple his shooting ability with Fredrick’s and Kentucky will have two deadeyes from behind the arc.

Onyenso is an elite shot blocker

Goodness. Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso very well may be the best shot blocker to rock the blue and white since Anthony Davis. Now, that’s not to say Onyenso will be similar to Davis as a freshman, but he is an elite rim protector nonetheless.

He had five blocks in 15 minutes of play against Missouri Western State and racked up four more in this one. He's very raw offensively, and don’t forget he reclassified up a year, but his shot blocking will make it difficult to keep him off the floor, even with a loaded frontcourt.

A pair of twin brothers face off for the first time ever

We all know that Chris Livingston is a Kentucky Wildcat, but what you may not have known is that his twin brother, Cordell, is a freshman at Kentucky State this season. He’s redshirting this season, so we didn’t get to see the brothers take the court together, but it is the first time they’ve ever been on opposing benches.

Despite being twins, Chris and Cordell could not be more different. Chris is a 6-6, 220 pound, former five-star recruit. Cordell, on the other hand, didn’t get as lucky. The much smaller Livingston twin is just 6-foot tall and weighs 175 pounds. Cordell has talent, but he’s not at Chris’ level.

Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers actually offered Cordell a spot on the team if Chris committed there, but that offer was quickly withdrawn when it became clear that the Cats were the team to beat. While Coach Cal didn’t offer a spot to Cordell, luckily for them, the brothers are playing college basketball just 25 minutes apart.

For more on this fun story, check out Jack Pilgrim’s article posted yesterday for On3.

It’s about that time, BBN! The regular season is almost here. Go Cats!