Kentucky controlled the game from the opening tip, crushing the Cards in virtually every facet of the game. It was a total mismatch.
Jacob Toppin had a breakout game for the Cats, posting 24 points and seven rebounds in what was a much-needed performance out of the senior forward.
Oscar Tshiebwe did his usual damage, putting up 24 points and 14 rebounds and Cason Wallace continued his tear with 17 points and five rebounds.
This game could be the turning point if all goes well for John Calipari’s squad. They looked fluid and comfortable, and while the shooting (both three-point and free-throw) need heavy improvements, the offense looked solid.
As for Kenny Payne, it was good to have him back in Rupp, but it was even better to send him home with a loss.
Kentucky most likely won’t be ranked on Monday, but with LSU coming to town on Tuesday and heading to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, Kentucky has a chance to turn their season around. It’s do-or-die time in Lexington.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Solid performance by Kentucky Basketball. Took the lead early and never looked back— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) December 31, 2022
Hopefully will be the game that sends Toppin to where we all want him to be
Final | Kentucky 86, Louisville 63— TheCatsPause247 (@TheCatsPause247) December 31, 2022
Oscar Tshiebwe: 24 pts, 14 reb, 2 stls
Jacob Toppin: 24 pts, 7 reb
Cason Wallace: 17 pts, 5 reb, 2 stls
Sahvir Wheeler: 7 pts, 9 ast, 2 stls
Chris Livingston: 5 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
Antonio Reeves: 5 pts
Daimion Collins: 2 pts
Lance Ware: 2 pts
Jacob Toppin named Player of the Game, Rupp Arena crowd goes wild.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) December 31, 2022
Jacon Toppin has an infectious spirit about him. Look at what this man can accomplish when he's engaged. Not even Oscar can get a rebound over him. pic.twitter.com/jgmeVZGdXs— Big Blue Drew (@BigBlueDrew33) December 31, 2022
I love the performance by the basketball Cats today but wouldn't mind seeing them run up the score even more before sending Louisville home with some L's down— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) December 31, 2022
I’m very easily persuaded and I’m back in on Kentucky hoops, yes— morrisoncrying (@morrisoncrying) December 31, 2022
Kentucky defeats Louisville 86-63— Brandon Ramsey (@BRamseyKSR) December 31, 2022
-HUGE game by Jacob Toppin. 24 points on just 15 shots.
-Another dominant performance by Oscar Tshiebwe.
-Keep tightening the rotation.
-Cason Wallace has to be a focal point. He’s a star.
Oscar Tshiebwe has played 45 games for Kentucky.— Jared Berson (@JaredBerson) December 31, 2022
Not a single opposing player has out-rebounded him in any of those games.
24 and 14 today for Oscar in the win over Louisville.
Kenny Payne on Kentucky: “I don’t care what the critics say, they are one of the best teams in college basketball.”— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) December 31, 2022
Kinda perfect that Tyler Ulis' first game on Kentucky's bench as an assistant is vs. Louisville. pic.twitter.com/GjjDNkz1jm— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) December 31, 2022
The most first-half points a John Calipari-led UK team has ever scored against Louisville. https://t.co/6mpK4pCOX4— Cameron Drummond (@cdrummond97) December 31, 2022
For the 2nd time ever @KentuckyMBB had 2 players score at least 24 points against UofL in the same game (Jacob Toppin, Oscar Tshiebwe) (also done by Jamal Mashburn and John Pelphrey on December 28th, 1991)— Corey Price (@coreyp08) December 31, 2022
Wear the ‘93s the entire damn season— Ian Teasley (@ianteasley) December 31, 2022
Throwing it back to '93 with the unis today pic.twitter.com/ZRuO5fHkfi— Kentucky Men’s Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) December 31, 2022
What an unbelievable atmosphere today at Rupp! Thank you #BBN for what you do for our team!!— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) December 31, 2022
We have a great group and I’m really excited about what we can do together in 2023.
Happy New Year!!